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Toronto, University of 
Theses, rh.w, L960« 

DecK. John ilorbert 

Nature &£ contemplation in 





John N. Deck, M. A. 

A thesis submitted in conformity 
with the requirements for the degree 
of Doctor of Philosophy in the 
University of Toronto 









3:30 p.m., Friday, May 13th, 1960 
at Flavelle House, Room 212 



Professor G. L. Stagg, Chairman 
Professor F. H. Anderson 
Professor J. Owens 
Professor A. A. Maurer 
Professor E. A. Synan 
Professor I. T. Eschmann 
Professor E. L. Fackenheim 
Professor T. A. Goudge 
Professor L. E. M. Lynch 
Professor D. Savan 
Professor F. E. Sparshott 
Professor B. Wilkinson 


1921 - Born, Buffalo, New York 

1946 - B. A. , University of Western Ontario 

1948 - M. A., University of Western Ontario 

- School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto 


1955-57 - Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Boston College 

1957-60 - Lecturer, Department of Philosophy , Assumption University 
of Windsor 


Nature as Contemplation in Plotinus 


This thesis undertakes an investigation of Plotinus' doctrine of nature as 
contemplation, which is contained in Ennead in, 3, 1-4. 

According to the doctrine stated in this passage, nature produces the 
vegetative things of the visible cosmos by contemplating. But according to 
other texts of this philosopher, the visible cosmos appears to be the direct 
reflection of the Nous , the world of true being, upon matter. The purpose 
of this thesis is to inquire into the compatibility of these two Plotinian doctrines. 

As an essential preliminary to the investigation, the problem of organiz- 
ing a Plotinian exegesis of Ennead III, S, 1-4, is discussed. It is shown that 
chronological indications are inconclusive. Since Ennead III. 8, 1-4 and its 
immediate setting provide references to Plotinus' entire philosophy, an or- 
ganization of the exegesis in terms of the general outline of Plotinus' world 
is accepted as the most promising approach. 

The One or Good, the first hypostasis, is seen to display Plotinus' notion 
of production ( poiesis) at its highest level. The One is seen to have, not 
knowledge, but superknowledge, characterized by complete identity of 
knower and known. In the case of Nous , Plotinus' second hypostasis, pro- 
ducing is similar to the One's producing with the added dimension of intelli- 
gence, knowledge properly so-called. 

Nous is a contemplation which lesser principles do not reach but towards 
which they strive: a contemplation in which contemplator and the self- 
living object of contemplation (which is the world of^rue being) are entita- 
tively united. 

It is the necessary and proper function of Soul, the third hypostasis, to 
form, order, and rule the visible cosmos. Individual souls are identical 
with Soul after the fashion of identity of species and genus. The contempla- 
tion appropriate to the Soul of the All is a changeless eternal wisdom which 
produces the sensible world as its work of contemplation. The cognitive 
activity by which the human soul is characteristically itself is discursive 
reasoning. These types of contemplation are superior to nature's contempla- 

Plotinus' account of the production and governing of the visible universe 
through contemplative producing gains a new dimension through the incor- 
poration of a freshly-conceived notion of logos . Logos is intellectuality as 
diversifying. The progression of things from the Nous is an irradiation of 
intellectuality. Soul is a vehicle for the diversifying intellectuality that 
descends from the Nous. 

Nature is the lower part of the Soul of the All. Its contemplation is close 
to unconsciousness, that is, close to non-knowledge. Nature is the last of the 
contemplative producers: the last producer that produces simply by being a 
self-possession, simply by being an immobile contemplation. 

Plotinus' doctrine of matter is introduced at this point. It is seen that 
matter, which is "non-being", is, as it were, a mirror which reflects the 
Nous , the world of true being. Expressions used by Plotinus in this connec- 
tion raise doubt whether intermediation between Nous and matter, by nature 
as a contemplative producer, is either possible or necessary. 

The central problem thus arises within the technical framework of Ploti- 
nus' philosophy. As a preliminary to its solution, the meanings of "nature" 
and "contemplation" that were presumably available to Plotinus are investi- 
gated. These are the meanings built up in Greek philosophical tradition. 

The connection between Plotinus' terms and doctrines and the ordinary 
notion of the "real" is then explored. It is shown that for Plotinus the things 
of nature, e.g. , trees and plants, are as real as they are for anyone. His 
"nature" is shown to be real according to an expansion of the ordinary sense 
of the word. 

Plotinus' "being" is not equivalent to the ordinary "real". "Being" de- 
notes the more real, characterized by a self-identity which for Plotinus is a 
self-knowledge, a contemplation. A sensible thing, although real, is not 
"itself". Knowledge, contemplation, as necessary for the self-identity of 
being, is more real, "substantial", "solid". 

But the more real world, the world of being, is the everyday world as 
the latter is known by the best knowing power, Nous . Nous is not precisely 
divine intellect, nor an ideal of intellectual knowledge, nor ordinary human 
intelligence. It is eternal, actually existing intellect, with which a man 
can, by ceasing to be merely human, realize his identity. 

Nature, as a falling-off from Nous, is a reality still containing a kind of 
self-identity by way of self-knowledge. Less real than Nous, it is more real 
than the visible cosmos. 

It is argued further that, in treating of nature as a contemplative producer, 
Plotinus is speaking of a "making" which is fully real. Plotinus recognizes 
the reality of ordinary human producing, which he calls " praxis "; he regards 
contemplative producing, "poiesis ", as more real. 

Nous, Soul, and nature can be denominated fittingly "efficient causes" 
because they are real, indeed more real, makers. They are not efficient 
causes in an Aristotelian sense, however; nor are they efficient causes in 
the sense of causes of existence. 

Nous, an identity of the more real, of being, with "substantial" contem- 
plation, is the more real maker of the real sensible universe. The function 
of intermediaries in this producing is both negative and positive. 

Negatively, the presence of less real makers "between" the Nous and 
the sensible universe does not prevent Nous from being the only fully true 
cause of the being of the sensible universe. 

Positively, it is explained how, granted Plotinus' view of the world, 
there must be intermediaries. Plotinus sees the world as Nous , as true 
being. But he further sees it as something which, as it were, descends 
from Nous to organize matter — this is something real, this is Soul, real 
Soul. He sees the world as Soul capable of producing no longer within 
itself, but only upon matter—this is something real, what he calls nature. 

Thus the presence of contemplative nature as a producer "between" 
Nous and the visible cosmos is not only compatible with Plotinus' notion 
of a direct presence of matter to Nous, but is necessary in view of what 
this philosopher sees in the real world. Nous as Nous implies only intel- 
lectual contemplation. To impose its intellectuality upon matter, nature, 
a less real producer, contemplative by a contemplation which is less than 
intellectual, is required. 


Major Subject: 

Mediaeval Philosophy - Professor E. Gilson 

- Professor A. A. Maurer 

- Professor J. Owens 

- Professor A. C. Pegis 

Minor Subjects: 

M. A. , University of Western Ontario 

Mediaeval History - Professor G. B. Flahiff 


This thesis consists of two parts. In Chapters 
II-VII, I have presented Plotinus* doctrine of nature-as- 
contsra^lation in its technical Plotinian framework. In 
Chapters VIII-X, I have sought to provide a setting in 
which a modern reader can understand what Plotinus meant. 
Chapter I is an Introduction, which essays to Justify and 
explain my order of proceeding; Chapter XI offers con- 

I have sought to provide a means by which Plotinus 
himself can speak to a modern audience. This purpose has 
demanded, for one thing, a serious attempt to establish 
accurate English translations of Plotinus' texts. The 
translations of excerpts reproduced both in the ensuing 
chapters and in the notes and appendix, are my own. I 
havo been hel :ed in this task, however, by availing myself 
of the work of numerous other translators — I have found 
the translation done by the Renai seance Platonist, .'arsill 
Flcino, of particular assistance. 

Adopting the stances of the "ordinary man" and 
the "ordinary philosophic reader" in Chapters IX and X, I 
believe I have found that Plotinus 1 philosophy is not 
divorced from ordinary notions. In doing so I hove given 
an account of ordinary notions, attempting to report those 

as faithfully as I could. Here again I must be held 
responsible if anyone finds this account inaccurate or 

I have not found it of much value to categorize 
Plotinus' philosophy by "ism" words, either initially or 
in my conclusions. Therefore I have said nothing, except 
implicitly, about Plotinus' supposed idealism, rational- 
ism, pantheism, etc. 

Certain Greek words, which seemed to me insus- 
ceptible of translation by single words or short phrases, 
but which have been employed frequently in the text, have 
been rendered in Roman orthography. These words, with 
the numbers of the pages on which they first appear, are: 

ecu fid 

theoria (pi. theoriai) 

p. 11 


logos (pi. logoi) 

p. 11 


poiesis (adj. poietic) 




P. 36 

(TVVttKT&n <rtJ 

synes thesis 

p. 37 


theorems (pi. theoremata) 

p. 44 


no&ma (pi. noemata) 

P. 44 


noSsis (pi. noUseis) 




P. 76 




TTfW^i s 


P. 35 

Soiris physis p. 106 

VuWriS oyneais p. 113 

I have U3cd the adjective "ontic" and the adverb 
"onticv.ily" on occasion to refer to "being*! Tliey arc to 
"bo understood to mean no more than the awkward "being-ish" 
and "being-ly" ; thoy are not Intended to convey any refer- 
ence to, or allusion to, any specialised meaning they may 
have in certain contemporary philosophers. 

I v/ish to acknowledge my profound gratitude to 
the numerous teachers and colleagues without whose assis- 
tance this work could have been neither begun nor completed; 
in particular, to Dr. Anton C. Pegls and the Rev. Joseph 
Owens, C.Ss.R. , of the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval 
Studies and the Department of Philosophy in the University 
of Toronto; and to those who have assisted me in typing and 
editing the manuscript: Mrs. Helen Haberer, ::iss Barbara 
Birch, Mr. Albert Kate, Mr. William Dollar, Dr. John 
.•-ville, and Mr. Joseph Graham. 

John N. Dec : 



II THE ONE p. 23 


IV SOUL ?• 51 


VI NATURE p. 106 

VII 21ATT JR p. 120 







NOTES p. 233 



Chapter I 


While teaching at Rone, and sometime during the 
years 262-267 A.D., Plotinus wrote the treatise which Is 
called "On Nature, Contemplation, and the One" ( iTnnead 
III, 8). Perhaps the most salient feature of this treatise 
is the arresting doctrine of its first four chapters, a 

doctrine presented explicitly nowhere else in Plotinus' 

1 2 

written- 1 - works: that nature contemplates, that nature 

is a contemplation. 

Nature contemplates — trees, plants, the earth it- 
self contemplate. What do these statements mean? Talc en 
in isolation, or taken in other contexts, they could mean 
many things. The question becomes rational and manageable 
only When it is amended to road: "What did these statements 
mean for Plotinus?" When the question is asked in this way, 
the answer becomes an explanation of nature-as-contemplation 
In terms of Plotinus 1 own philosophy, an explanation which 
discovers the place of contemplative nature in Plotinus' 
world. Such an explanation is, broadly spe< 1 , the 
pur cose of the present thesis. 

Since the explanation itself is to be sought in 
Plotinus' own teachings, it seems proper to look for a frame- 
work of explanation in the setting, chronological and doctri- 
nal, of Ennead III, 8, 1-4. If a framework of explanation is 


established In this way, we will have insured that Plotlnus' 
doctrine will not be forced into patterns of thought alien 
to it. 

It may be that chronology can furnish the required 
framework. Porphyry, Plotlnus • pupil, biographer, and liter- 
ary executor, provides In his Llfe_of Plotlnus a chronolog- 

ical list of his master's works . On this list III, 8, and 

indeed all of Plotlnus' treatises, are ^Iven their relative 
chronological positions; III, 8, is 30th of 54. If this 
list were to prove to be accurate, and If a prima facie in- 
vestigation of Plotlnus' writings were to s .ow ohanges, de- 
velopments, evolutions of thought in tne course of time, the 
chronological position of III, 8, 1-4 might become the con- 
trolling factor in its exposition. If, on the contrary. 
Porphyry's list is inaccurate, or does not show what at first 
glance it seems to show, the attempt at chronological struc- 
turing is best abandoned— for, in that case, the chronology 
would have to be re-established from Internal evidence, and 
principally from an exhaustive doctrinal analysis which would 
have to follow soue order other than the chronological. 

It is Important, then, to investigate the accuracy of 
Porphyry's chronological list: the possible evidence for it, 
what it Intends to show, what it does show. 

Plotlnus' written work contains no complete system- 
atic accounts of his philosophy. It is composed of treatises 
or lectures. Typically, each treatise is a self-oontained 

devel I t of a particular theme; the matter of an individ- 
ual treatiae may be given independent treatment In other 

Porphyry, as editor, gathered these self-contained 
treatises into six enneads, that 13, six group3 of nine, 
arranged according to subject matter . The grouping Into 
enneads bears no relation to the chronological order of the 

The following Is Porphyry's acoount of the ohronology 
of the treatises: Plotinus, Porphyry tells us, taught in 
Rome for ten years without writing anything, then began to 
write, and In the course of the next ten years composed twenty- 
one treatises. At this point Porphyry joined him; Plotinus 
was then in his fifty -ninth year. There followed a prolific 
period of six years during which he produced twenty-four 
treatises. After this, Porpnyry went to Sicily; Plotinus 
sent him within the next year five treatises, and within 
another short period (apparently less than a year), four more. 

Porphyry thus places the treatises in four chronolog- 
ical groups : 














According to this scheme, III, 3, Is in Group II. Further- 
more, within each group Porphyry lists the treatises in suc- 
cession; III, 8 is listed as the eighth treatise of the second 


group, situated between two of Plotlnus' treatises "About 
the Soul" (IV, 3 and IV, 4) and the treatise "About intel- 
ligible Beauty" (V, 8). 

There is no reason to doubt that the treatises were 
composed within the spans of years indicated by Porphyry. 
Thus his groupings appear to be accurate, and ^ive us some 
indication of the chronological affinities of the treatises. 
But Porphyry does not state that the order in which he lists 
the treatises within a group is the exact order in which they 
were written, except that, in reference to the second group, 
he says that the two treatises "On the Omnipresence of Being" 
(VI, 4 and 5) were composed before the others of this group. 
Thus, except in the case noted, it is not even certain that 
Porphyry meant to give the exact temporal sequence of the 
treatises within a chronological group. 

It follows that the exact chronological position of 
III, 8 is not known. It is known, however, that it was writ- 
ten within the same six years as some of Plotinus' most im- 
portant treatments of the soul (IV, 3 and IV, 4), his treat- 
ment of the impassibility of matter, his treatment (mentioned 
above) of the omnipresence of being — all treatises which will 
be seen to have a close relation with III, 8 and with the 
problems engendered by its exegesis. 

Ill, 8 Is, therefore, within six years of these im- 
portant treatises. But what is its temporal relation to the 
treatises of the first, third, and fourth groups? 

First of all, how close i3 III, e -onologlcally 
to the treatises of Porphyry's first group? How clo3© may 
it be? There seems to be ample room for uncertainty with 
regard to the internal ordering of this group* It will be 
recalled that Group I comprises those treatises that were 
oomposed before Porphyry joined Plotinus' school at Ror a e . 
It would be too much to assume definitely that Plotinus, 
or someone in his circle, kept these treatises in their 
exact chronological order for a future editor. There Is 
reason to doubt that Plotinus hiuself, to wnom writing seeus 

to have held second place to teaching, who never, according 

to Porphyry's testimony, re-read what he had once written, 

who did not even furnish titles for his treatises", should 
have exercised oare in keepin; their relative datinga 
straight. Porphyry gives no indication of the basis on 
whioh he lists the first twenty-one treatises in succession. 
There seems no external evidence on which to establish a judg- 
ment eit <er way. Perhaps Porphyry's list displays the first 
twenty-one treatises in their proper chronological order, 
perhaps it does not. Since either alternative is open, it 
remains possible, reserving a possible judgment based on 
internal evidence, that any one o." the treatises of Porphyry's 
first group may be temporally contiguous with III, 

The same result is reached by conslaerin^ that, even 
supposing that the order of the first group is exact, Porphyry 
furnishes no account of the distribution of the treatises of 
the first group within the ten-year period in wxiich this group 

was composed. Thus there may have been a bunching of 
treatises towards the end of the ten-y:::.r period, which 
could bring many treatises of Group I within, say, six 
years of III, 8. This would be still more possible if III, 
8 (assuming It is the eighth treatise of Group II) were, 
however, written towards the beginning of the six-year 
period during which Group II was composed. 

Gince the composition of the third and fourth groups 
took, at the most, a year each, any treatise in those grou s 
might very well be less than six years later than III, 8. 

Thus we see that Porphyry's chronological grouping 
situates III, 8 within six years of the other treatises of 
the second grouo, but does not preclude the possibility 
that it was written within six years or less of some of 
the tr atises of Group I, all of the tr atisos of Groups III 
and IV. The latter consideration is particularly worthy of 
note, because it means that the treatise3 on providence 
(III, 2 and 3), In which some commentators have seen a 
"later" and doctrinally different, Plotlnus , are, tempor- 
ally at least, very close to the treatises of Group II. The 
attempt to situate III, 8, chronologically by Porphyry's 
external evidence has, then, led to meager results. 

There is the possibility that Internal indications 
may establish, in some cases, the rclrtive chronology of the 
treatises. For one po'nt, Plotlnus makes a considerable 
number of backward references. ,1th regard to these there 

is, however, the preliminary doubt whether backward refer- 
ences can mean much in the writings of a man whose major 
interest was in oral communication, and who did not re- 
read what he had once written. When he does make a back- 
ward reference he may very well not be referring to a 
written treatise at all, but to his oral teaching--quite 
possibly to the "course" he had been giving during the past 
few months. The proper method for handling these backward 
references would be to take each significant one up only as 
it occurs. In its own setting, a backward reference may be 
of some value in establishing doctrinal, and (if this is 
desirable) chronological, affinities among Plotinus' treat- 

For another point, the chronology of the treatises 
may, perhaps, be indicated at times from doctrinal analysis. 
In general, however, it seems that the attemot to date the 
treatises from internal evidence, an attempt hazardous at 
best, would have to await a careful textual exegesis, and 
thus that the chronology obtained therefrom is not, at all 
events, available when the problem is the one before us: 
the initial structuring of the textual exegesis. 

The same judgment must be made of Porphyry's assess- 
ment of the worth of the treatises. The first group, 
according to Porphyry, is the work of Plotinus' youth, the 
second of his maturity, the third and fourth of his old age. 
In the first Plotinus 1 doctrine was not yet firmly established: 

. ■ 


In the second we have hia mature philosophy; the third 
and fourth manifest his deoline. This summary judgment 
has all the earmarks of a purely conventional statement. 
It could be justified only by an exhaustive analysis of 
the texts. In the absence of this, the first, second and 
third-fourth groups can be taken to mean only treaties 
ooraposed before Porphyry came, while Porphyry was present, 
after Porphyry left . The third and fourth o^oups were 
written, it is true, not only after Porphyry departed, but 

after Plotinus ' school had dispersed and his disease, or 

diseases, were oreeping up on him • But do these last 

treatises represent a decline of his philosophic power? 
This is another question which could be answered only by 
a thorough examination of the treatises themselves. 

Granted even that III, 8 might be thirtieth on 
the chronological scale, would this prove that the doctrine 
of nature-as-contemplation represents some middle period in 
Plotinus' thought? If Plotinus had oomposed an elaborate 
systematic work before this, in which nature-as-contemplat- 
ion did not find a place, it might be safe to affirm that 
III, 8 represented a later development. But we must reoall 
that all the curonological order can be at best Is a listing 
of the detached treatises of a man who wrote comparatively 
little. Therefore, the external evidence at any rate could 
never preclude the possibility that Plotinus had had the 
notion of nature-as-contemplation in mind for years, while 

the first group of treatises was being cojpoaed and even 

In brief, there is not enough positive evidence 
rding the relative chronological situation of III, , 
or of Plotinus 1 doctrine of nature-as-conte.cplation, to 
permit chronological considerations to provide a structure 
for this thesis. 

Because III, 8, 1-4 is the only explioit exposition 
of nature-as-contem?lation in Plotinus' written work, the 
problem of the doctrinal setting or location of nature-as- 
oontemplatlon is largely synonymous with the problem of 
locating III, 0, 1-4 doctrlnally. 

The question of the doctrinal setting of nature-as- 
contemplation is to be distinguished from that of the mean- 
ing, bearing, and import of this doctrine. The latter ques- 
tion constitutes, as we have said, the general problem of 
the entire present thesis. The problem of doctrinal setting 
which conoerns us at this stage is, rather, the problem of 
the preliminary location of nature-as-contemplation within 
the compass of Plotinus' doctrines. The discovery of this 
location will furnish the apparatus necessary for dealing 
with the problems of meaning and import. 

The doctrinal setting, understood in this way, oan 
be discovered by a preliminary viewing of the doctrinal 
allusions contained In, and the more obvious textual and 
doctrinal affinities of, III, 8, 1-4. When we have 


established what doctrines must be discussed for an eluci- 
dation of nature-as-contemplation, we can see what order 
of discussion is suggested by this collection of doctrines 

The doctrines to which allusion will be made in the 
following discussion can be placed more easily if we advert 
for a moment to the basic structure of Plotlnus' world. For 
Plotinus, the highest hypostasis, or principle, is the One; 
beneath the One is the Nous, the Intelligence or Knower, the 
one— many. As one-many the Nous is a world: the knowing- 
known world, the world of true being and true beings. 

Beneath the Nous is the World-Soul, the one-and-many. 

Nature is the lower "part" of the World-Soul. 

Since no other passages in the Bnneads treat, in so 

many words, of nature-as-contemolation, there are no texts 

precisely parallel to III, 8, 1-4. What is indicated next 

is the examination of the texts in which Plotinus speaks of 

nature and those in which he speaks of contemplation. To 

give a brief notice of these texts: nature, in the sense In 

which it is treated In III, 8, that is, as the lower part of 

the World-Soul, Is mentioned with reasonable frequancy in the 

finneads , usually in discussions of the soul. There is one 

fairly extended treatment in the second treatise "On The 

Soul". The primary source for Plotinus' ex prof esso doctrine 

of contemplation (exclusive of III, 8, 1-4) is the succeeding 

chapters of III, 8. Chapters 5 and 6 deal with contemplation 


in soul; Chapter 7 Introduces sons general "self-evident" 

■> ' A i o " ,16 
( oiUTQuev AotpeiV ) remarks about contemplation and 

summarizes chapters 1-6; Chapter 8 treats of contemplation 
in the Nous. Obviously these must be examined for the in- 
sights they may furnish into the meaning of nature-as- 
contemplation. Outside of III, 8, co. templation explicitly 
as such, designated by the nouns theoria (GtUPioO and the 
cognate v€ol t and expressed by the verb vt ix>P£\ V ' contemplate ' , 
is mentioned only occasionally. There is a discussion of 
contemplation in the Nous (V, 3, 5), which parallels that of 
III, 8. There is a fairly extensive treatment of the 
"contemplation" of the One by the "individual" soul (VI, 9, 11). 
Clearly, the structure which we provide must allow for the 
adequate examination of all pertinent nature and contemplation 

Ill, 8, 1-4, furnishes leads for further investi- 
gations. Nature as a contemplation is, according to the 

1 n 

doctrine presented there, productive -1 - , indeed its producing 

(presumably of vegetative things, including the earth and 

rocks, which for Plotinus possess vegetative life) is_ its 

contemplation . Therefore, Plotinus' whole doctrine of 

production must be examined to see what meaning the contem- 
plative-producing by nature can have for him. 

Further, nature is a logos ; as a logos, It is prod- 

21 22 

uctive ; as a logos it is also a contemplation . Thus the 

necessity is shown for a disquisition on Plotinus' doctrine 



of logos, which doctrine, spread up and down the Enneads , 
is brought to a focus in the two treatises "On Providence" 
(III, 2 and 3). 

Nature is likewise denominated form ( £loOS ) 
this calls for a discussion of Plotinus' notion of form, in 
its manifold relations to logos, production and contemplat- 

Ill, 8, 1-4 Is the first part of a treatment on con- 
templation in the ascending order, a treatment which moves 
from nature up the scale of the Plotinian hypostases to the 
higher part, or parts of Soul (III, 8, 5-6) to the Nous 
(Chapter 8). The Nous Is represented as having, in fact as 
being, the highest kind of contemplation. It is highly 
likely, then, that an understanding of Soul and Nous as con- 
templations will be necessary to an appreciation of nature 
as contemplation. This will entail also an investigation 
of Soul and Nous as productive and as logo!. In Chapters 
7 and 8 contemplation, logos, life, and knowledge are related 
to one another, and at least partially identified. Nature 
13 a contemplation and a logos; nature has already been called 


in passing "a life" ; "naturely knowledge" is mentioned in 

Chapter 8 Itself . Plainly the doctrines of life and know- 
ledge must also be looked Into. 

In III, 8, 1-8 Plotinus is also coordinating contem- 
plation with being--the highest beings have, are, the highest 
contemplations; imitation being has, is, only imitation 




contemplation. This is not precisely stated, and the 
attempt to show how it can be inferred would exceed the 
scope of this introduction. 

Ennead III, 8 moves from the Nous to the One, 
(Chapter 3), presenting in new and striking formulae the 
typical Plotinian doctrine of the One above the Nous 
(Chapters 9-11). The One is not represented as a contem- 
plation. Indeed, III, 8 appears to infer that the One, as 

above the duality of the Nous, is above contemplation likewise. 

Nevertheless, it is worthy of note that a treatise which 

develops progressively the doctrine of contemplation should 

culminate in a re -affirmation of the doctrine of the One. 

This suggests that Plotinus 1 philosophy of the One must be 

investigated, if only to see how nature as a contemplation 

is related to the One which, as above the duality of knowledge, 

Is above the duality of contemplation. Furthermore, the One's 

producing of the Nous is, apparently, the primary instance of 

production in Plotinus' world — thus it demands investigation 

for the light it can shed on the functioning of nature as a 


Supposing that our puroose did not exceed a simole 
exegesis of Ennead III, 8, 1-4, the mass of Investigations 
outlined above could be structured In three ways. The basic 
text could be commented upon, sentence by sentence, so as to 
bring In, at each point, all of the materials required for 
explanation. Such a procedure would be cumbersome in the 
extreme and insufferably repetitious. Further, it would 



e oat itself by failing to present in an organized 
fashion the body of doctrine in which, once properly dis- 
played, nature as contemplation should find its proper 
place . 

Or the presentation might be organized according 
to topics or themes--production, conteiaplation, life, know- 
ledge, etc. This would mean that production, for example, 
would be treated with reference to the One, the !Tou3, the 
Soul and nature. Such a scheme would be workable, although. 
It would not display, except v-ith a good deal of repetition, 
the coordinations of production and contemplation, production 
and life, production and life and contemplation. Also, It 
would have the defect of being organized about the "attributes" 
and "activities"^ 7 of Plotinus » hypostases rather than about 
what can be called, adapting Armstrong's phrase, the architect- 
ure of Plotinus' world. 

There remains the tactic of using the scheme of the 
three hypostases itself as the mode of organization. If 
we employ this method, the One, for example, oan be treated 
as productive, as above knowing, in its possible connections 
with life, etc. The Nous could be treated as productive, as 
knowing, as logos and source of logos, as a contemplation. 
To order the presentation in this way would serve to emphasize 
the actual structuring of Plotinus' world. Coordinately, 
for Plotinus, an "attribute" or "activity" is better, nobler, 
more properly itself where it first appears on the scale; 


increasingly weakened and worse in the lower reaches of the 
scale. For exaa le, contemplation, presumptively, first 
ooours in the case of the Nous. The Nous' conte mplation is, 
t xen, what contem 1-tion "ought to be". It 13 the contem- 
plation of which the contemplations of Soul and of nature 
are the degradations, the ideal of contemplation to which 
they aspire. Therefore, by looking at the "attributes" 
and "activities" first In the higher hypostases, we will be 
in a better position to appreciate what these "attributes" 
and "activities" are in nature, because we will have seen 
from what the life, knowledge, contemplation, and productive- 
power in nature are the declinations. 

To be sure, if the second, or topical, arrangement 
were to be chosen, the natural method of treating each 
"attribute" would be in the descending order of the hypostases, 
and the diminutions and declinations of the "attribute" could 
be made manifest. The presently-proposed ije thod is, however, 
superior In that each "attribute" oan be seen in its intimate 
connection with the other "attributes" of one hypostasis, 
without the need of massive repetition. 

It is true that the hb thod now being considered will 
not absolutely avoid repetition. Obviously, if the theme of 
production is taken up first in connection with the One, and 
resumed In the treatment of the Nous, some recapitulations 
will be necessary. None the less, beoause of the advantages 
outlined above, thi3 method of procedure appears the best, 


and will, with modifications, be adopted. 

For reasons which will soon appear, It seems well 
to depart from the above-mentioned plan in one case, and 
to extend it in another. The departure will be for a 

topical treatment of Plotinus 1 doctrine of logo3. Logos 

is not, in Plotinus' worla, an hypostasis. What it is 

can be understood only after both Nous and Soul have been 

considered. Hence a separate treatment of logos is 

indicated, following the discussions of Nous and of Soul. 

With the treatments of the One, the Nous, the Soul, 
and logos, we have many — indeed it might seem all — of the 
materials to be gleaned from places other than the nature 
texts thenselves and pertinent to the explanation of nature, 
and in particular of nature-as-contemplation. 

Nature, and its con templa ting-producing, can be 
treated profitably at this point. As the discussion pro- 
ceeds, it becomes evident, however, that something more is 
needed: an enquiry Into Plotinus 1 doctrine of matter. 
With the treatment of matter we extend our structure beyond, 
rather, below, the scheme of the three hypostases. 

The doctrine of i.jatter must be investigated since 

nature is, for Plotinus, the last reflection of the soul 

upon matter. Nature needs natter upon which to produce 

its effects: the oonteisplat ive-producing by nature funotions, 

in some fashion, in or upon matter. 

At this point it might appear that the explanation of 

nature as contemplation would be complete. The treatment of 


the higher hypostases in the descending order will have 
displayed the position of nature as the last irradiation 
from those hypostases, its producin^-oontemplating as 
the ultimate diminution of the produoing-contemplating of 
the Nous, The discussion of logos will havo shown in what 
sense nature is a logos, and the meaning of the coordination 
of logos-producion-conteinplation in nature's case. The 
final excursion into the doctrine of matter will have 
explained what, precisely, the contemplative-producing of 
nature effects in the visible cosmos. 

But the task will not yet have been completed. 
When Plotinus' doctrine of matter is given a full present- 
ation, it appears that he has a rival doctrine of the pro- 
duction of the "vegetative" things which oome-to-be in the 
visible oo3mos. 

The two treatises "On the Omnipresence of Being" 

(VI, 4 and 5) present this different view. Here we learn 

that there is nothing in-between matter and the ideas, 

that the intelligible world (the world of ideas, the Nous ) 

is present to the sensible world; ' that the sensible world 

participates In the intelligible world, T e chapters In 

which these doctrines are set fortn seem to suggest a lack 

of mediation between the Nous and matter, and thus can 

oonvey the impression that the higher part of the Soul, and 

nature, which have appeared as diminutions from the Nous, 

are unnecessary and perhaps even Impossible intermediaries 


between the Nous and matter. The entire doctrine which 
saw the vegetative things of the visible cosmos a3 the 
product of nature's relatively feeble produclng-conteiripla- 
tlng, a relatively feeble producing-conteraplating which was 
derived from the producing-contemplating of Soul, and this 
in turn from the producing-contemplating of the Nou3, see;.js 
to be undermined. What does Plotinus mean? Is the visible 
universe to be explained as the ultimate produot of a series 
of diminishing hypostases or parts of hypostases, or is it 
the direct roduct of the Nous? Which contemplation is 
really productive of the vegetative things in the cosmos — 
that of nature or that of the Nous? 

With the raising of these questions we are confronted 
with the ultimate problem concerning the meaning of nature-as- 
contemplation for Plotinus. We are presented with the oppor- 
tunity to assess, In its most profound aspect, the place and 
function of contemplative-nature in Plotinus' world. While 
leaving open the improbable possibility that the "two" doc- 
trines of the constitution of the vegetative things of the 
visible cosmos are simply mutually contradictory, the task 
from this point will be to see if an accommodation between 
them, an accommodation based on Plotinus* own texts, can 
be effected. 

Our paramount problem will have presented Itself 
vri. thin the technical framework of Plotinus' philosophy. 
In order to appreciate its import, it will be necessary to 


locate its terms, so far as possible, in relation to 
ordinary notions. What is Plotinus talking about when 
he begins to treat of nature? Of contemplation? Is he 
dealing with what the ordinary man would regard as real- 
ities? What is the Nous, the Knower, the contemplator 
par excellence ? What is the producing Plotinus speaks of? 
Is it a real producing? Does it have any connection with 
the ordinary, or more generally with modern, notions of 

Accordingly, in Chapter VIII, we will survey the 
notions of nature and contemplation which he inherited from 
the Greek philosophic tradition; in Chapter IX we will see 
if both these basic notions, and Plotinus' developments uoon 
them, can be related to the ordinary man's views of nature 
and contemplation. In Chapter X we will ask what Plotinus' 
"two" doctrines of the production of the vegetative things 
in the visible world can mean for the ordinary modern reader. 

In view of the actual meaning of Nous, nature, con- 
templation and production, does Plotinu3 truly have two 
doctrines of the producing of trees and plants, or only one? 
This question is the concern of the final chapter, Chapted XI. 

In sum, the present thesis seeks to elucidate Plotinus' 
doctrine of nature-as-contemplation by tracing and explaining 
what is relevant to its exegesis in his doctrines of the One 
(Chapter II), of the Nous (Chapter III), of the Soul (Chapter 
IV), of logos (Chapter V), of nature itself and of matter 


(Chapter VI arid VII). In Chapter VII .e .ajor pro. L« , 
one facet ^f \iiioh ha3 been developed In Chapters II to 
VI, comes into clear view: What is the weaning of nature- 
as-conteraplation vis-a-vis the omnipresence of bong? An 
enquiry into the fundamental meaning of his notions in 
Chapters VIII, IX and X prepares far the solution offered 
in Chapter XI, 

To explain Plotinu3 ' thought with accuracy, it is 
necessary to see the exact state in which notions and 
dootrines, waich he may share, or appear to share, with 
earlier or later philosophers, appear in his philosophy. 
This can be done only by attending to the actual features 
of Plotinus 1 notions and shadings of notions; it requires 
a cautious treatment of real or supposed sources and devel- 
opments. We inay not assume at the outset that Plotinus 
represents an amalgam, not entirely internally consistent, 
of Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, traces of Christianity 
via his teacher, ^.mmonius Saccas, possibly Philo, possibly 
"oriental Influences' 1 , etc. It Is true that Plotinus, as 
many other philosophers, may borrow his vocabulary and even 
elements of his conceptual apparatus from many sources. 
But we must be mindful of the possibility that Plotinus may 
well nave followed a basic inspiration, under the control of 
which he could have reworked and re-interpreted his materials 
and so achieved an internal unity. It cannot be demonstrated 
at this point whether or not Plotinus was more than a 


syncretlst: what is necessary is to keep our eyes in 
readiness to see, if they occur, unique tre ts, and 
unique handlings of, and transmutations of, sources. 

To attend to what Plotinus exactly says, means 
raore than to give a more-or-less nomlnalistic report of 
what are, or viiat a ear to be, his doctrines. Plotinus' 
own mode of presentation suggests the procedures which can 
be calculated to <lve a valid in3i ut into his meaning, 

Plotinus 1 philosophy does not, generally speaking, 
contain demonstrations in Aristotle's meaning of the word. 
Nor do his writings, in most case3, seem to reproduce any 
genuine avenue of discovery. Beoause of didactic exigencies, 
or because of the actual sequence of his thought — and probably 
beoause of both — his treatises appear as elaborations and 
clarifications of pre-conceived notions. Often they are 
inductions into, or carefully constructed familiarizations 
with, a primary intuition which appears to be functional for 
hiia from the outset. His presentation, probably also his 
thought, is "spiral" rather than linear. He doe3 not so much 
prove his propositions and notions as accustom his hearers 
and readers to their truth. The result is that it often 
seems that he is proving conclusions by premises and premises 
by conclusions — actually he i3 elaborating an Intuition, 
building up its specific conceptual apparatus, connecting it 
with the other parts of his thought, rendering it plausible 
and acceptable. 



Indeed, the process described above, by which 
Flotinus seeks to deepen his hearers 1 , and conceivably 
his own, insight into a certain problem, may extend over 
several treatises. Thus an individual treatise, although 
self-contained in the rhetorical sense, may very well not 
give Flotinus' last, or most profound, word on the subject 
with which it deals. In some cases, in fact, it seems 
possible to establish the relative didactic levels of two 
or more treatises — to distinguish the milk from the meat — 
and this quite independently of chronological considerations. 

Therefore, when Flotinus 1 philosophy is submitted to 
the close textual analysis we are about to attempt, it is 
necessary to adopt many perspectives, and to move eventually, 
as the thought warrants, to synthesis and simultaneity. It 
will be seen that many apparent definitions, categorical 
propositions and distinctions cannot stand as such when 
compared with other texts. This in itself does not point 
to inconsistency; it means simply that the reader of 
Plotinus is confronted with modifications and adjustments, 
which, while possibly present to the philosopher's mind 
simultaneously, are presented for exegesis, sequentially. 
Statements made at the beginning, therefore, must always 
be held open for possible re-interpretation. 


Chapter II 

Plotinus' doctrine of the One must be examined 
for possible primary instances of poiesis and of knowl- 
edge. Before treating of the One under these aspects, it 
is, however, necessary a) to show that the doctrine of the 
One has a place in Plotinus' philosoohy as such and b) to 
characterize more precisely the "nature" of the One. 

For Plotinus, the doctrine of the One apoears to 
be susceptible of proof. Thus, in the treatise on contem- 
plation, after discussing the Nous, he argues: 

Such is the Nous. Thus it is not the first, but 
there must be that which is beyond it, (our 
preceding discussion was for the sake of this), 
first of all, because multitude is posterior to 
one, and multitude is number, while the One Is 
the principle of number and of multitude. And 
this is intelligence and intelligible at once, 
as the two together. If it is two, it is 
necessary to find ( /tifleiv' ) what is before the 
two. Now what is it? Nous alone? But to every 
intelligence there is joined an intelligible: 
for if an intelligible is not of necessity 
joined, there is no intelligence. Now if it 
is not Nous, but escapes the two, that which 



is prior to these two will be beyond Nous. But 
what prevents it from being the intelligible? 
Because the intelligible, for its part, is yoked 
to the intelligence. But if it is neither 
intelligence nor intelligible, what la it? W« 

shall say that it is that fro^ ooaa Houa 

and the intelligible which is with it. 

This passage has the character of a formal demon- 
stration of the One. Any multitude is posterior to a one. 
But the Nous, the highest principle reached so far in the 
discussion, is a two: a duality of intelligence and intel- 
ligible. Therefore, the Nous is posterior to another 
principle, which is the One. 

In a closely-following passage, ue argues that, 
since the Nous has a need to see and to act, it relates to 
a higher principle, in respect to 11 and because of which 
it sees and acts; this principle is the Good (which is the 
same as the One ). 

In both of those proofs the argument prooeeds from 
the lower principle, the Nous; the nature of the Noua is 
seen to demand the One. Thus the ^octrine of the One appears 
in Plotinus' philosophy by philosophic exigency, and is not 
necessarily dependent upon a mystical, or para-mystical, 
experience of the One. 

The One, or Good, was demonstrated by the need of 
the Nous for a principle and a good. The Good is other 

than the Nous; the cause of all is other than what it 

ses. The One is thus a distinot hypostasis, a distinot 


Plotinu3 is at once in aifficulty when he begir»3 

to describe the One. He sees that Tor him the One wust 

be ineffable. Even the name "One", if taken as a positive 

designation, is not suitable. To add a predicate to tl.e 

One, or even to say that it is, would be to make it two-- 

"One" and "is"--and therefore the one-which-is, the second 

nature and not the first. 

It is called the Good — the Good in the sense that 

all things, primarily the Nous, desire it, act toward it, 

9 1° 

aot because of It — are what they are because of it, know 

by a desire to know it. It i3 the good for all thing: . 

Rut does this mean that it is the good for itself? bviously 

not, since "^ood for itself" involves a duality: the Good 

has no good, since there is nothing beyond it. 

And yet the very simplicity of the first principle 

can be expressed, unless we are nerely to repeat endlessly 

"The Jne", only by words and phrases which in themselves 

connote duality. Plotinus Is fully aware of this. His 

tactic is to employ the dualistic phrases, but usually to 

correct them, usually to remind hi3 hearers that these 

phrases must be purged of dualism to apply to the One 

and yet purged of dualism do they still mean anything? 

For example, the One Is from itself ' and through 



15 16 17 

itself, It la towards itself, it wills itself, it 

1 8 
ices or constitutes Itself. None of these phrases 

can mean that L e jne is In some rapport with itaelf, 

as though it were dual. Rather, they express-v/hat? — 

the self-sufficiency of the One? This expression is 

itself dual. They express the One. 

Plotinus says constantly that tne One needs 

nothing. It does not need subsistence, entity, act, 

aid life. If it needed any of these it would not be the 

first: some other principle, towards viiioh it tended, would 


supply them to it. Nor does it have them. For in having 

them, It would be two: itself, and that which it had. 

Neither needing them nor having them, but the source from 

which they proceed, the One is beyond subsistence, 

23 84 25 

beyond entity, beyond act, beyond life. 

Plotinus, In fact, affirms that the One Is, and 

27 28 

denies that it is; affirms that it subsists, and denies 

29 30 

that it subsists; affirms that it is aot, and denies 

that it Is act;'' affirms that it Is free,' ' and denies that 

33 34 

it is free; affirms that it has life and denies that it 

hu. life, Plotinus is not contradicting himself. The One 

is or has all these, to the extent that neither they nor the 

being or having of them involve duality, VJhen Plotinus 

denies an attribute of the One lie does so to affirm the 

simplicity of the One; when he affirms an attribute he shows 

that the One, althou^b. simple, is not negative, Plotinus 


applies negative formulae to the One, not to deny posltivity 
of it, but to deny duality. The One, which needs nothing, 

is by the same token, deprived of nothing: it is the most 

sufficient, the least-lacking. Thus positive formulae 

can be applied to the One, provided that they be qualified 

to remove the taint of duality: the One has quasi-subsistence, 

quasi-entity, quasi-life. Its quasi-subsistence, quasi-entity, 

and quasi-life are identical with itself. 

These considerations about the nature of the One 
furnish valuable preliminary notions of what production and 
knowledge can be for the One. If this perfectly simple 
produces, It cannot be by any dissipation of Itself, any 
going-out from itself. If it knows, it cannot know in any 
way that would Dlace it in apposition to itself and make it 
two. And yet, as it is not negative, if it produces it veri- 
tably produces, and if it knows it veritably knows. 

The One — Poiesis 

The One or First makes, that is, constitutes, itself; 
and It generates or makes the second nature, the Nous. The 
One's making of itself will be seen to be analogous to the 
relative self-contalnedness of nature; the One's generation 
of the Nous will be the primary analogue of nature's contem- 
plative producing of the visible cosmos. 

For the One, self -possession is complete. It, and 
its willing of itself, are one: In this sense it produced 
itself. 00 More properly, its self-mastery is above will, 



since it is above any shadow of duality that 3elf -mastery 

might connote. The One is above necessity, that is, 

above any exterior constraint; it is what it ought to be, 

but it is so entirely through itself. 

The One, self-constituted, generates the Nous, but 
remains perfectly stable and unmoved in doing so. The 0n« 
does not incline forward. It generates as the sun generates 
the light about it. 42 

Plotinus makes frequent use of the example of the 

generation of light by the sun to explain generation and 

production. The point of comparison is twofold: the 

generation, or emission, involves no diminution of the source; 

the source is simultaneous with the generated and the emitted. 

These comparisons are possible because Plotinus apparently 

believed that the sun is not weakened by the emission of light, 

and that light takes no time to proceed from a source to an 

illuminable object. 

The ne has all power; indeed, it is the power of 

producing all things. It is the master of this power pre- 
cisely in the sense that It does not need the things that 
come after it. It does not need them at all: it is the same 

after generating them as before, in fact, their generation 

or non-generation is indifferent to it. 

"[The One], being perfect, by not seeking anything, 

or having anything, or needing anything, overflows as It were, 

and its superabundance makes another ..." 


The One, being perfect, overflows as it_ were . It over- 
flows as perfect; it overflows because it Is perfect. Its 
overflowing is a quasi overflowing because it is and remains 
perfect: a quasi overflowing because in Itself it Is unaf- 
fected. It is and remains perfect precisely in the sense 
that it seeks nothing, has nothing, and needs nothing. The 
One produces all things by having no need of them — by being 
perfect, and it is perfect, it must produce: Or, more properly, 
it produces simpliclter — It just does produce: 

And, so long as they remain, all beings .-:ive, from 
their own entity, around themselves and towards 
what is outside themselves, and from their present 
power, an hypostasis necessarily depending on them. 
This hypostasis Is as it were the image of the 
archetype from which it is produced. Fire gives 
the heat which issues from it: and snow does not 
hold the cold solely within itself. Odoriferous 
things bear special witness to this. So long as 
they are, there proceeds something from them, about 
them, so that the nearest of the things standing 
around partakes of it. Now everything which is 
already perfect generates. That which is alv^ays 

perfect generates always, and generates something 


What we must note here Is the complete connection of 

perfection with generation. Everything that is already perfect 


generates, so that the One, which Is always perfect, always 

All beings generate so long as they remain (jievei ). 
Although a very general sense of y<evei in Plotinus Is "stay 
immobile", and, although this Interpretation would strengthen 
the application to the One In this passage, it seems likely 
that here /ieW£i means rather "endure". PIcino renders It 
perseverant . The conclusion is that that which is always 
perfect generates something eternal: the point seems to be the 
enduring of the generator. 

The phrase "from their own entity" ( e« Tfjs otUTtW 
OUcrio^s ) is susceptible of two interpretations: that the gener- 
ated is produced from the entity of the generator as from a 
material; that the generated is produced from the entity of 
the generator as from a source. What has been cited ap to 
this point regarding generation by the One would render the 
latter the proper interpretation here. It is true that the 
examples which p lotinus uses, fire, snow, and odoriferous 
things, might suggest the former. But in another passage, in 
which he compares again the generation of the Nous by the One 
to the generation of heat by fire, he explains clearly the 
sense In which he wishes us to understand "from their own 

According to V, 4, 2, 27-39, the act "of the entity" 
is to be distinguished from the act "from" the entity. There 
is a heat "of" fire which is the same as fire itself, and a 


heat that derives "from" fire. /hen the fire, by remaining 
just what It is, exercises, energizes, the heat within 
itself which is the sane as Itself, the heat "towards the 
external" (TTPO* To t\t*> ) has already necessarily become. 

The One, remaining in Itself, in Its own proper 

seat, has its perfection in Itself and exercises its own 

co-subsistent act, which is itself. The Nous necessarily 

takes its hypostasis "from" this intimate act of the One, 

and in doing so comes to to-be and entity. Thus the doctrine 

has been expressed with precision. The self -act of the One 

is and remains self-complete, the Nous is the act "from" the 

self-contained self -act of the One as from an originative 

source. The act from the entity is necessary when the act 

of the entity is energizing itself. 

In this same passage Plotinus says that the Nous "takas 
its hypostasis", it "comes to to-be and to entity'*. Here 

Plotinus expresses his typical doctrine that the lower "comes 
towards the higher to receive entity, form, or order. This 
metaphor calls attention to the relative self-containedness 
and indiffersnce-to-the-lower of all relatively higher princi- 
ples, and at least balances the metaphor of outpouring. It is 
as though one were to say that an artifact "comes towards" the 
artisan, in that it begins to measure up to his artistic 
habitus . 

Plotinus' doctrine has been seen to be that, so long 
as they endure, all beings give, from their own entity as an 


originative source , an hypostasis necessarily dependent 5 "^ 

on them. The dependent hypostasis is "around" the source. 

This is not a spatial concept, but only a spatial metaphor: 
it is meant to convey the ontic contiguity of generator and 
generated. The dependent hypostasis is given "from the 
present power" of the generator, that is, from the power of 
the generator, which is present. This phrase is an explicit 
expression of a notion central to Plotinus 1 doctrine of pro- 
duction: productive, i.e., generative or poietic agents act 
by their mere presence--just by being there. 

The dependent hypostasis is an image ( 61K6JV ) of the 
generator. This concept, and kindred ones, are applied in 
many places where Plotinus wishes to characterize the lower 
in relation to the higher. The Nous is the £lKO)V ,°° the 
pifAn^dL and ex&oJAov 57 f the One. Similarly, the Soul is 

the tlKuSv , 58 and J<l}ir\pdi , 5£ ' the efawAoV 60 of the Nous. 

. ' 61 

In general, each productive agent Is the J*lJiT)J\io£ its producers. 

r» ' 

tlKU)V means 'image' and it would seem that for Plotinus, the 

primary sensuous analogate of the word involved is not image 
in the sense that a statue is an image, but image in the sense 
of image-in-a-mirror. If this is true, the expression con- 

notes a complete dependence of the produced upon its producer, 
and a relative lack-of -reality of the lower with reference to 
the higher. 

In the generation of the Kous, the world of true being, 
by the One, all possible effects are realized. The One has an 


internal freedom, but its producing of Being and beings is 
necessary. "It was not fitting that the power Jof the One] 
be arrested, as though circumscribed by jealousy, bat it 
always advances, until all things, down to the last, come to 
the limit of their possibility ..." "... if something 
more could be generated from it, nothing would be for it an 
object of jealousy. Now, however, there is nothing to be 
generated, there is nothing which is not generated, since 
everything has been generated." 

This, then, is Plotinus 1 basic notion of produc- 
tion. When the producing agent does not go out of itself, 

and does not exert effort, production is at its best--not 

in spite of these conditions, but precisely because of them. 
In general, relatively perfect, relatively unchanging, rela- 
tively self-contained producing agents produce necessarily 
and eternally for the exact reason that they are perfect, 
unchanging, and self-contained. This notion of producing will 
be applied, in a diminished fashion, to nature-as-contemplation. 

The One--Knowledge 

Does the One have knowledge? Does it have contemplation? 
Nature, Soul and Nous are contemplations; is the One in any 
sense a contemplation? 

Plotinus' first answer to these questions follows the 
general line of his negative doctrine of the One. Knowledge can- 
not be attributed to the One, just as subsistence, life, etc., 
cannot be attributed to it, for to attribute anything to the 


66 67 

One is to make it two. The One does not need knowledge; 

It does not have knowledge. 

Not only would the ascription of knowledge to the 
One make the One dual, but knowledge in itself is not per- 
fectly simple. Knowledge Involves an object of knowledge, 
an entity. In the Nous, where knowledge exists at its highest, 

there is a unity between it and its object, but not the unquali- 

fied One. No knower Is absolutely simple; the One cannot be 

a knower. Plotinus, in fact, devotes an entire treatise 

(V, 6) to shrw ing, on this and on similar grounds, that the 

One does not know. In addition, he argues in many other 

places the impropriety and impossibility of the One's having 

knowledge. A concentration upon such texts would lead us 

to believe that the cjiestion is closed, the answer settled 


for Plotinus. The One knows neither itself nor anything else. 

And yet, to say that te One does not know itself does 

not, for Plotinus, mean that the One is Ignorant of itself. 

Ignorance, like knowledge, implies a duality: in the case of 

ignorance, there is the object which Is not known. The One 

neither knows nor is ignorant; it is more properly beyond 


The One does not know because a knower is never 

perfectly one, it does not know because knowledge implies a 

duality: perhaps Plotinus means that the One does not know 

in the sense that knowledge implies duality. Yet knowledge 

in its proper sense is dual: but might there not be a quasi- 




knowledge In t..e jne, as there is ^ jasi-hypostasis and 
quasi-life? rti^ht there not be a cognitive state positively 
ond knowledge, a 3tate which would be 3h,iple and not dual? 
:cordin; to a plausible interpretation of one pass- 
age, the One has, in place of knowledge, a self-contact: 
Thus it Is necessary that the knower take up 
different things, and that the known, being known, 
be varied: or there will not be knowledge of the 
known, but rather a touching, and as it were a 
contact only, not spoken and not known, a pre- 
knowing (TtpovoovcoC ) when Nous has not yet been 
generated, and the toucher does not know ... 
Knowledge is, as it were, a finding by one who 
has sought. That which is altogether without 

difference fthe One] itself regains towards- 

n 75 

itself, and seeks nothing about ( ) itself. 

It might be said that this text refers to the contact 

of the individual soul with the One. But the expression 

before the Nous is generated" shows that Plotinus is dealing 

with the One-in-itself . 

The One Is in contact with itself, it is towards- 

itself. These two notions are brought together with one 

another in a sentence that specifies the t owards-itself as 

a making — a making w ioh is a looking (and thus at least 

verbally correlative to Nature's contemplating -producing): 

"The One, as it were, made itself by an act of looking at 


itself. This act of looking at itself is, in a way, its 
to-be". 77 

We do not stretch the meaning of this text to say 
that, in it, the One is called a self - contemplation , as 
Nous, as Soul, as nature are, in their own fashions, self- 
contemplations. It should be noted that Plotinus does not 
scruple to speak here of the to-be, or quasi to-be of the 
One, as he speaks elsewhere of its ousia (0U<rioi. 'entity, 
beingness 1 ) or quasi -oasia. 

In these lines the One is said to look at Itself, 
a little further on in the same passage the One is called 
an eternal super -knowledge : "If, now, its [the One's] act 
does not become but is always, and Is_ a kind of wakefulness 
which is not other than the one who is awake, being a wake- 
fulness and an eternal super-knowledge ( U7T6P VOr)<ns ), it 
will be_ in the way It is awake. The wakefulness is beyond 
being and 1-ous and intelligent life; the wakefulness is 
itself. 79 

A wakefulness which is a super -knowledge, or a wake- 
fulness which is above knowledge? It is true that the word 
UTTepVorjfl'iS will bear either Interpretation. But there are 
several indications in this same general context that Plo- 
tinus intends the positive sense, super-knowledge. 

He has said a little above that "the most lovable 

In the One is, as It were Nous". The force of this 

becomes manifest when we realize that he can not be refer- 


ring to the hypostasis, the Nous. The One is the Good, 

the good for the Nous-hypostasis as well as for everything 

else, the supremely lovable. Here he says that the most 

lovable in this suoremely lovable in, as-it-were, intelli- 

This doctrine is given an unequivocal statement in 
V, 4, 2. After remarking that the Nous is multiple (as 
containing the multiplicity of the ideas and as being 
composed of the known and the knower), Plotinus goes on 
to say that the One is "not, so to speak, imperceptive, but 
everything of it is in it and with it [i.e., it is entirely 
self-contained] , it is entirely self -discerning, life is in 
it and all things are in it, and its self-knowledge is itself, 
a self-knowledge by a kind of syne sthe sis, being in eternal 
stasis and in a knowledge otherwise than knowledge according 
to the Nous." 82 

VI, 8, 18 echoes the same thought. There is in the 
One a sort of Intelligence which is not the Nous. The One 
is the center, from it out -ray being and Nous. Being and 
Nous, as they are poured forth from the One and are depend- 
ent on its intellectual nature, bear witness to the fact 
that there is knowledge in the One. 

Thus knowledge, which appears in a way in nature, 
more fully in Soul, perfectly in the Nous, is not absent from 
the highest hypostasis, the One: the continuity of knowl- 
edge is not abruptly broken in the ascent from the 


Noua to the One • 

A knowledge which la a self-identity-- tnia Is not 
so alien to Flotinus ' usual notion of knowleuge as may i'irst 
appear. On all levels the nisus of knowleuge is towards 
identity: knowledge be conies wore true as knower and known 
become more identical. In the Nous, he tells us, 
"the theoria raust be the same as the contemplated, and the 
Intelligence the same as the intelligible. J-'or, if t! 
were not the same, there would not be truth. For the 

possessor would have an imprint of beings instead of the 

beings, wherefore taere would not be truth". 

The next chapter will discuss in what sense this 
identity of knower and known in the Nous is to be taken, in 
the face of the doctrine of the duality of the Nous. Impor- 
tant in tiie present context are the notions of true knowle i 
as an identity, and of identity as the gauge of truth and of 
knowledge. Since identity is the ideal of knowledge, and 
duality only its condition, the self-identical eternal wake- 
fulness of the One can be a super-knowledge in a positive 

The primary instance of knowledge in Plotinus 1 
universe is, therefore, the One's super-knowledge. The pri- 
mary instance of generation is the One's generation of the 
Nous. Taken together, these are the primary analogue of 
nature 's contem olative-producing. 

Chapter III 

Caused by the One, the Nous, the second hypostasis, 

1 2 3 

the knower-known, the knower-knowns, is the one-many. 

The One is above being; the Nous Is identical with true 
being. The One generates the Nous, the Nous in turn 
generates the Soul, and, apparently with Soul as inter- 
mediary, the visible cosmos. The One has super-knowl- 
edge; the Nous is the first instance of knowledge speci- 
fically so-called, and of contemplation. 

The Nous — Poiesis 

In giving a certain something-of-itself to, or 

more properly, towards , in the direction of, matter, Nous 
fashioned, worked ( epyi^ecr^i ) all things while remain- 
ing at rest. "The power of producing through itself belongs 
to something which is not in all respects perfect: such a 
thing produces and is moved, according to the measure of 
its imperfection. But altogether blessed beings stand 
in themselves and are as they are; it is not safe for 
them to be busy about many things (ToAoTTp^y^oveTv) , for 
that would raean to move out of the .selves. But the Nous 
Is so blessed that in not making it works , and in remaining 

» 10 

self-contained it makes , great things. 



The power of production is thus attributed to 
Nous, but only in a sense that doe3 not oompro..iiae its 
re ,aining-by- itself, its stasis with reference to its 
producing. It does not move in producir . It does not 
have the power-of-producing-turough- itself in any sense 
that would connote movement of lnvolve;aent : TToXuirp^y 
ftOv/£iV , ir.volvement with many thing3, a word which ?icino 
renders "negotiari", cannot be applied to Nous. Tnere is 
paradox even in the application of the notion of making or 
producing: Plotinus is purifying the verb TTOieiv 'to naka ' 
for the purposes of his own philosophy. The Nous produces 
silaply by being and remaining what it is. This notion of 
production will function in the oescription of the poiesis 
appropriate to soul and nature— but with modifications. 

The intelli, Ibles in the Nous do not subsist for 
the sake of producing: this is shown by the fact^nat they 
are prior to sensible things. By a slight inference, Plo- 
tinus can be understood to mean that the Kous is not solely 
or primarily a productive power. The Iou3, then, does not 
subsist for the sake of producing; yet, if the intelli^ibles 

subsist, the sensibles follow frotu a necessity of the intel- 

ligibles, that is, the Nous produces necessarily. s Plo- 
tinus puts it in III, 2, 2: 

[The visible cosmos] was born, not by any 
reasoning about the necessity ( 6Viv ) of 


its generation, but by a necessity ( dLVaLy Kr\ ) 
of the second nature [the Hous]i for the 

us was not suca that it should be the last 
of beings. For it is the first, naving muah 
power, indeed all power; and it has this power 
to produce another without seeking to produce. 
If it sought, it would already not have this 
power from itself, from its own entity; but 
it would be like an artisan w-io does not hi 

the power-of -production from blaoalf, but by 

acquisition, having acquired it from learnin . 

In learning his art, and thereby acquiring the 
power-of -producing, the artist shows that he does not 
have this power from himself nor from his own entit . 
Since the power is not his in this full sense, e ..ust, 
if he is to produce at all, seek to produoe. The Nous does 
not seek to produce; it has its productive rower from it- 
self, it produces by a necessity inherent in it. ^or does 
t..e Nous reason about the production of the sensible world. 
Reasoning is the concomitant of seeking and learning, Ihe 
disposition 01 the world according to Nous is more intel- 
ligent than a hypothetical disposition according to reason- 

in^. There is no seeking or reasoning. The intelligible 

world, archetype of t^e sensible world, subsists, and 3ince 

there is no: 1 to hinder its action, it is necessary that 


the Nous order 1 o sensible world, and that the sensible 

world be ordered by the Nous. 

The Nous produces by being an exactly 

itself; it is not primarily a productive power, yet it 
produces necessarily. There is a temptation to terra 
such a mode of production "automatic". 

Tlais, however, is not Plotinus 1 term. He explicit- 
ly denies that the producing of the sensible world by the 
Nous is "automatic" simply because, in this producing, 
the Nous, Intel licence — being prior, not chronologically, 
but in the 3en3e of ontic originative source, as intelli- 
gent-intelligible archetype and paradigm — brings it about 
that Nou3 is present in all things. The inference is that, 
for him, "automatic" would denote a non- intelligent pro- 
ducing, whereas producing by the Nous is intelligent-neces- 


In the doctrine of the Nous, then, "making" means 
a producing to whioh the subsistence of the producer is 
ontioally prior, one in which trie producer is not in any 
way moved; a produoing which is intelligent, but not ac- 
cording to a discursion or deliberation; a producing which 
is, therefore, necessary. These qualities appertain, by 
a principle of diminution which will be illustrated as its 
application oocurs, to producing by Soul and by nature. 



The No us --Knowledge and Contemplation 

The Nous, like the One, produces by being itself. 
In the Nous's case, however, to be itself is to be intel- 
lective, to be the intellectual knower. 

In the Nous, contemplation is Intellectual knowl- 
edge. The "ous possesses, or rather is, truth, because 
in it there is an identity of knower, knowing, and thing- 
known; between contemplator, contemplation, and object- 
of contemplation. 

These identifications are established in V, 3, 5 
and III, 8, 8. According to the former: "... the Contem- 
plation (Tr)V Oeuo\aLV ) must be the same as the thing-contem- 
plated (TCO Oeu)pr\Tu) ), and the Nous the sane as the tning- 
known (feu vor)Tw) — for indeed, if it is not the same, there 
will be no truth." 1 A few lines further on Plotinus 

establishes the identity of knowing ( Vor|<n* ) and the- 

thing known. 

According to III, 8, 8: 
In the ascent of theoria from nature to Soul 
and from Soul to Nous, the theoriai become 
ever more intimate to, and united with, the 
contemplators. In the excellent soul the 
things-known (~t£>v lyvuxrpdvoJV ) are moving 
towards [an identification with] the soul as 
a subject, because they are aspiring to intel- 
ligence. In the Nous both are one, not by 


intimacy, as with the best soul, but by 
entity, and to-be and to-know are the same. 

ore is not still a difference — if there were, 
there would be some thing prior in which this 

difference was not. Therefore it is neoessary 

that the Kou3 be both, as really one. 

In III, 8, 8, Plotinus makes another identification, 
to which he alludes only in passing in V, 3, 5. Life and 
knowledge are coordinate. The Nous, which is its own 
knowledge, its own theoria, is the first life, living 
through Itself ( ocuto5uW ): 

This is a living theoria, not a theorema 
( Qecx)pr]pdL ), such as a theorema in another. 
For the theorema which is in another is a 
certain living thing, not self-living. If, 
then, a certain theorema and noema ( yoT\f+d* ) 
is to live, it must be self-life, not vege- 
tative, or sensitive, or the other kind of 
soul-life. For these other lives are also, 
In a way, knowledges: but the one Is vege- 
tative knowledge ( (puTikr] veneris , perhaps 
'naturely knowledge'), the other sensitive, 
the last soul -knowle ,, e . How re they know- 
ledges? Because they are logo!. nd every 
life Is a certain knowledge, taut one is 





more obscure than the other, just as the 
kinds of life are. The clearest knowledge 
is itself the first life, one with the 
first Nous . . . For every life is of this 
kind and is a knowledge ... But this is 
to be noted, that again in passing our 

lecture [or perhaps ' reason'l shows that 

all things are theoriai. 

The differences among knowledges are primarily 

differences on the scale of clarity and obscurity. In 

another place, Plotinus calls sensations ob.scure know- 

ledges, and the knowledges in the Nous, clear sensations. 

Naturely ( vegetative) -knowledge, nature's theoria, is 

more obscure even than sensation-knowledge, but is still, 

in a way, knowledge. 

To continue the presentation of III, 8: "If now the 

/ 24 

truest life is life in knowledge (\Zoricrei), if the truest 

life is the same as the truest knowledge, the truest know- 
ledge lives, theoria and such a theorema are living things 

.. 25 
and life, and the two are one". There is, then, a scale 

of knowledge and truth which is the same as the scale of 

life. The clearer knowledges, the clearer lives, are the 

truer knowledges and the truer lives. The clearest and 

truest is the Nous itself. 

The mention of theorema in these passages is worthy 


of attention. From its etymology, theorema could mean 

object of contemplation, or work of contemplation. 

( e r call that for Plotinus contemplation has a work, 

a product). Similarly, the coordinate noema could mean 

either work of knowledge or object of knowledge. The 

close parallel between this passage and V, 3, 5 seems to 

indicate that the Nous's theorema is the same as the 

0e6opr)TOV and Von,TOV mentioned there, ' and so should 

be taken as "object of knowledge." It is probably the 

) / 29 

same as the eyvfflO"Mev<< mentioned above, which are surely 

objects of knowledge. Further, it seems doubtful that 

Plotinus considers that the Nous has an internal product 

of knowledge. His doctrine in many places is that, in 

the Nous, being is prior to the knower. 

The point here, however, is that Plotinus is 
speaking of the Nous's theorema which is not in another, 
that Is, of its internal theorema. 

This can be shown from the text. The theoria 
which Is Nous Is said to be a living theoria, not a 
theorema such as would be in another. This cannot mean 
that it Is not a theorema at all, or that all theoremata 
are in another, for the immediately succeeding sentence 
shows that it is a self -living theorema. Plotinus is, then 
contrasting theorema in another with self -living theorema. 

What is the bearing of this contrast? The self- 


living theorema, in the Nous and identical with the 
Nous, is identical with theoria. Nature-life, animal- 
life, etc., are not self -living theoreraata. This 
suggests, but does not say in so many words, that in 
the cases of nature and soul, theorema is not identical 
with theoria. In these cases, then, there would be a 
theorema-in-another. But this passage leaves the meaning 
of "ln-anothor" indefinite. In-another in the sense of 
being in another subject, or in-another in the sense of 
being not perfectly united to the subject in which it is? 

It is said that in the ascent of theoria the 
theoriai bacome ever more closely united to the contempla- 
tors — this, then, would be a case of an increasing internal 
union, but it is not said specifically that the theoriai 
become more closely united to the theoreraata — and, if it 
were, it would leave the question still open. 

Plotinus has said that theorema in another is a 
certain living thing, but that if theorema is to live, it 
must be self -life, not nature-life or soul -life. This 
seems to mean that if theorema is to live in the fullest 
sense of the word , to live with the first life, it must be 
self -life. It is not said that the other kinds of life are 
other kinds of theoremata or noemata, but only that they are 
other knowledges, other kinds of theoriai. The other know- 
ledges are identified with the other lives; the other theore- 


mata are not; and their connection with the other lives 
is left indefinite. 

Therefore in III, 3, 8, Plotinus establishes the 
identity of theoria and a certain type of theorema in the 
case of the Nous. He offers a hint of a dissociation of 
the or la and theorema In cases other than that of th.) Nous, 
but he furnishes no sure indication of whether thi3 dis- 
sociation Is internal, or external, or both, or of what Its 
precise nature may be. 

We have seen that there is an ordering of lives and 
knowledges according to Increasing clarity from nature to 
rtous; there is an ascent of contemplation from nature to 
Nous. The theoria of the wise soul aims towards, and 
approximates to, the theoria of the Nous. 

Plotinus' guiding principle here may be that notion 
of continuity-and-diff erence which he expresses in Ennead V. 
The things that proceed from the One are, as it were, all 
along one living line. Each one is a part of this line, 
holding its own proper place on the line--and the places 
are arranged according to anteriority and posteriority, so 
that the latter places are "worse" — but each part is continu- 
ous with the whole line. Thus the second part does not lose 
the first part, i.e., it receives and conveys-along the 
influence of the first part, etc. In the "descent" each is 
left in its own proper place; in the "return" the generated, 


that which took the worse place, can become the same as 
that on which it "draws" so long as it pursues this. 

The first ten lines of III, 8, 8, given above, 
appear to echo this doctrine. As the excellent soul rises 
towards Xous , its theoria becomes ever more Intimate to 
itself as contemplator— yet in the Nous theoria and contem- 
plator are the same, not by intimacy, but by entity. 
This suggests that soul and Nous are on the same line, 
that soul has its proper place and keeps its proper place. 
It keeps its proper place, however, only to the extent 
that it does not, in its pursuit of Nous, become that 
which it draws upon. 

A closer analysis indicates, however, that the 
notion of an ordering of lives, knowledges, and theoriai 
according to clarity and obscurity, such as has been 
found in III, 8, 8, may be connected with a notion of 
continuity, but is not equivalent to it. There is no 
mention of a persistence of the higher upon the lower. 
The grades of life could be more distinct than Is envis- 
aged in the continuity passage. But the mention of 
grades of life-knowledge has been prefaced by the allusion 
to the progress of the excellent soul. It seems best, 
then, to suppose that the passage is not to be taken 
merely as an account of statically distinct grades of 
life-knowledge, but at least to imply their dynamic 
relations with one another. 


The Nous, then, represents an ideal of contern ;latlon 
of which other principles fall short and towards which thoy 
strive: a content elation entltatively united with contem- 
plator and with a self-livlnc thcoreraa, which is the world 
of true being. 

Chapter IV 

Plotinua' doctrine of the Soul concerns our 
problem for two reasons. First, the higher part of 
Soul is above nature, and so will furnish a prior, and 
better, instance of poiesis and theoria. Second, Soul, 
according to one line of Plotinus' thought, is an inter- 
mediary between Nous and the sensible universe--an inter- 
mediary which seems endangered by the doctrine of the 
presence of matter directly to the Nous* 

Soul and souls 
In Plotinus 1 world, the level below Nous is the 
domain of Soul. Attempts to describe the "architecture" 
of this level or levels in a pedestrian fashion only mani- 
fest a seemingly inextricable confusion. Soul is primordi- 
ally one-and-many. The intelligences or knowers in the 
Nous, although they can be spoken of in the plural, are 
closely united. In the Soul, the unity is more relaxed. 
The one Soul suffices for each and all, because it contains 

all souls. It is one principle of life w ich has an infinity 

of lives. 

Thus, clearly, the unity of the Soul does not 

exclude its multiplicity. There are individual souls and 







a Soul-of-the-All (V orld-Soul )' t there ia also a higher 
aoul of which both the individual souls and the Vvorld- 


Soul are quasl- parts. The individual soul is made up 
of two , and sometimes three , parts. Since nature is 
described as the lower part of the A'or Id-Soul, the IVorld- 
Soul itself has higher and lower parts. 

Let us try an interpretive device of limited value: 
recasting Plotinus* doctrine of the soul in Aristotelian 
terms. Is Plotinus saying that "soul" is a universal, 
applying to the llf e -principle s of diverse beings? No, the 
Soul is one hypostasis, one entity. The necessarily inaccu- 
rate expression of his thought in this language would be 
that the Soul is a subsistent universal and the totality 
of beings to which this universal applies. Plotinus 1 own 
comparison is to genus and species: "The souls also must 
be many and one, and from the one Soul there must be the 

many, which are different, as from one genus there are 

many species . . . " 

Plotinus Is not using a concept of soul as a princi- 
ple of explanation to cover soms aspect or aspects of the 
sensible universe. The sensible world is, in its being, 
soul. This is brought out w en he observes that the name 

"all" Is applied better to the World-Soul than to the sensi- 

ble All. 

The Soul is the being of the sensible universe. This 

Is clear from two facts: Fir at, Plotinus haa no 

explicated concern for existence. The eternity of the 

world is a presupposition of his thought--the being with 

which he deala la the being of life, order, and intelli- 

gibility. Sacond, matter is for him non-being. It 

never actually unites with form or with soul. Thua what 

Is being in, or rather for or with reference to, the sensi- 
ble universe, is soul. 

What then is the Soul? It is the order of the 

sensible universe, taken as an hypostasis. Since this 

order is an intelligible order, and intelligible only by 

reference to Nous, Soul la at once in Nous, deoendent 

13 14 

uoon Noua, and a falling-off from Noua. Since thia 

order ordera the aensible world, Soul is an intermediary 

bringing the order and intelligible quality of Noua to 

bear on the aensible world. 

Since the sensible world is a descent from Nous 

in the direction of matter, Plotinua seems at times to 

try to diminish and diversify soul to a point where it 

could unite with matter--but this can never be. Thus 

arises the seeming paradox that all diversifications and 

diminutions of soul are still united far more intimately 

with the hiA'her parts of Soul than with the matter they 

are said to be "in". Soul functions as an intermediary, 

between a hirher world and a lower world, which latter it 



itself forms according to the int. 11 ctual quality of 
its intermediation, and which K as its being in and 
through this intermediation. Soul, as the ordering 
principle of an order which actually is itself, can 
have "parts" which are parts of that order. But if the 

order itself is an hypostasis, the parts are not distinct 

hypostases: all souls are one. 

Soul and Nous 

Pure Soul, the hi chest part of Soul, is said to 

be in the intelligible world. Now the intelligible 

world, the realm of real being, is the Nous, and thus a 

difficulty is presented at once: How can the soul be a 

distinct hypostasis if it, or any part of it, is "in" 

another hypostasis? A possible answer would be that 

Plotinus uses the word "in" here in a special sense: a 

principle is said to be "in" that on which it depends, 

thus the body is "in" the soul. There la perhaps a 

suggestion of this meaning here, but the presence of the 

Soul in the l.ous seems to have the stron I plfic ice 

of the presence of a real being in the world of real 

being. But the latter interpretation would mean a blurring 

of the distinction between the two hypostases, Nous and Soul, 

for Soul, as a being or beings within Beinr, would be as 

closely identified with Nous as any real being in the Nous. 


The proper meanin- of the Soul's being ''in" the Kous, 
Is, p % ttaftt Nous is I .par-reality of ^oul: 

Nous and Soul are distinct hypos tase«», but not distinct 

In fact, the Soul 1 ;.arally spoken of as 

Inferior to the ' ou-, and the expressions are various, 

Lfl not full, but fall 3 short of that which Is 
before it." 2o The Soul is the eiKuW ' of the Sous, 
Its eiouAov t 22 its II ht, Its dependent-trace, 23 

Jr. one passage the -Sous is the guarantor of the 
: the Soul would not be eternal of itself, without 
Sous, bee;. .3 ever; t in r in tha cosmos is in matter and 
in oody— thus, if tho Soul did not have iNous above It, 

"nan" and all lojoi would be neither eternal nor self- 


There Is much to be commented u;j»on here. The 
higher hypostasis functions to guarantee the jternality 
of the lower. There seems to be a recollection of Plato's 
notion of the normative role of the Ideas, and probably a 
pro-figuring of St, Au ustlne and the rioctrlne of the 
Divine Illumination. But what concerns ws directly Is that 
the Soul is hero distinctly inferior to the Nous, 

The implication seems clear that the Soul Is taken 
as something in the cosmos when it is said that "everything 
in the cosmos is in matter and in body" and therefore the 


Soul would not be of itself eternal or self-identical. 
Apparently, even though the Soul never unites with matter, 
or matter with it, nevertheless its contiguity to matter 
would preclude its eternality and self-identity were not 
Nous above it, sustaining it. Notice again that Nous does 
not function as the guarantor of existence , but as that of 
eternality and self-identity, i.e., of intelligibility or 

While the soul is real being, it is also described 
as "from" real being in several striking formulae: "An 
animal comes to be. It has present to it a soul from being , 
according to which it depends upon all being; the body also 
is present . . . " 2 ^ The soul is a principle from the 
intelligible world, co-present with a body when an animal 
comes to be. Again, the soul is called the act from entity. 
The soul is the emissary from the Nous, the vehicle, as we 
shall see later, of the logoi (the principles of intellect- 
ual-character), which bring it about that Nous is present in 
all things, even the things of nature, formed, as they are, 
by this lower part of the World-Soul. 

The ^ole of the Soul in the Sensible World 

Plotinus inherited from Plato two notions of the 
•ole of the Soul in the sensible world. The one, to be 
identified generally with the doctrine of the Phaedrus , would, 
if taken literally, mean that the human soul, at least, has 


fallen culpably from a pre-existent state, and that its 

presence to the body is, for it, a violent condition. ■ 

The other, the doctrine of the Timaeus , makes the soul 

out to be an in-between reality, naturally fitted to 

govern the body. Plotinus makes a serious effort to 

accommodate these two doctrines to each other. 

Plotinus tells us that the World-Soul is not 

fallen. If it were fallen, it would have for , -otten the 

intelligibles j had it done this, it could not have 

fashioned the world. ' 

With regard to the individual souls, the question 
is more complex. Already in Plato the notion of a "fall" 
is probably not to be understood as part of the pre-history 
of the individual soul, but as a mythical expression of the 
present state of the soul. Now the soul is out-of-relation 
to Its own present higher self, because of its present re- 
lationship to the body. 

This Is the way Plotinus interprets Plato here. 
Now, granted that Plato is speaking of a present relationship 
to the body, does the fall consist in the mere presence of 
the soul to the body, or in a "moral" turning by which the 
soul loses itself in the desires of the body? 

Plotinus makes a serious effort to distinguish 
between these two senses of "fall", and to say that the 
governance of the body can be effected without a moral turn- 
ing to the body. This effort, however, is not consistently 


successful. In soma olaces the soul seems to have (or 
to be) fallen off culpably from a better state, but this 
fall is represented as necessary for the good of the whole, 
of at least, as redounding to the good of the body. In 
other places the fall is again culpable, but unavoidable 
in view of the necessary role the soul must play in the 
cosmic order. 

Again, supposing that the fall Is not a "moral" 
turning from the better to the worse, is It still a falling- 
off from a better state? Plotinus seems to indicate in 
several places that it is. It would be difficult for a 
Platonist to deny that soul, at least the human soul, is 
itself better without the body. Yet the World-Soul Is 
eternally governing its body, its body is eternally in It, 
and yet it is eternally blessed. The difficulties remain. 

Undoubtedly one reason for postulating parts of the 
soul is the effort to solve these problems. A higher part 
can be present with the Nous, a lower part involved with 
matter. But a pain, is it of the nature of soul to have 
these parts? Does the "projection" of a lower part involve 
a falllng-off, either in an ontic or in a moral sense? Is 
the soul then, eternally "fallen", and if so, does this 
mean any more than that it is an inferior grade of being? 

Probably the reason such questions can be raised is 
that, In Plotinus 1 philosophy, there is always the tendency to 
present lower grades of being as ontic or moral descents from 



higher grades: quite possibly this mode of presentation 
should be taken as metaphorical. Or, at the least, it can 
be said that there is, in his thought, a confusion between 
the "static" notion of the lower as worse than the higher 
and the "dynamic" notion of the lower as a worsening of 
the hisher. 

A detailed development in IV, 8, 1-5 shows Plo- 
tinus' strongest effort to establish the soul at its 

Droper level and to show that the soul can rule the body 

without contamination. 

In an historical introduction, Plotinus alludes to 

the apparent divergence between the doctrine of the Phaedrus 

and that of the Timaeus. Yet the difficulties seem to be 

solved almost at once. The World-Soul can govern the uni- 


verse without contamination. Not only this, but even our 

soul, if it is united to this perfect soul, itself possesses 
perfection. It also 'traverses the heavens and governs the 
cosmos'. When it does not depart from there to non-being, 
to be the soul of bodies or of a particular body, then it 
also, as governing with the Soul-of-the All, easily governs 


the All, as it is not evil in any way whatever for soul 
to present to body the power of well-bein.^ and of being, 
because not every providence for the worse takes away from 
the provider Its remaining in the best." 3 ^ 



This seems clear enough. Plotinus might reasonably 
be taken to mean that even a human soul can perform its 
legitimate function with regard to a human body without fall, 
fault, or contamination. 

Plotinus' immediate application, however, is to the 
souls of the stars, the souls which, according to the 

Phaedrus, did not descend. These are not moved from their 

blessed contemplation by the care of their bodies. 

Plotinus will "now" speak of the human soul, as 
though he had not mentioned it previously. Apparently "our" 
soul is not precisely the same as the human soul. He does 
not say that the human soul can rule its body without con- 
tamination, bat rather that, although for the human soul the 
body is a prison and a tomb, blessed souls, i.e., the souls 
of the stars, can rule their bodies without contamination, 
"because of the different reasons of the descent." 36 This 
could hardly apply to different reasons for the descents of 
different human souls, which would not touch the problem. 
It might mean different reasons for the descent of the souls 
of the stars on the one hand, and of human souls on the 
other, If Plotinus would say that the souls of the stars 
"descend" in any sense from the Soul-of-the All. 

The explanation which immediately follows recapi- 
tulates the doctrine of the Nous, the one-many, and the 
soul, the one-and-many. Then a highly important passage, 


by differentiating anew Soul from Nous, shows that Soul 
has its own proper function, and is nacesiary: 
The work of the more reasonable soul is to 
know intellectually, but not alone to know 
intellectually: in what respect would it 
differ from Nous? The soul, adding to its 
to-be-intellectual something else, accord- 
ing to which it will have its proper 
hypostasis, did not remain Nous; but it too 
has a work, if indeed everything, whatever 
being it may be, has its proper work. 
Looking towards that-which-is-bef ore it, 
it knows intellectually, looking into itself 
it keeps itself, looking towards that-which- 
is after it, it orders and ovorns and rules 
this: so that was it not possible for all to 
stand in the intelligible, when another in-order 
was able to become, and to be worse, but neces- 
sary, as indeed that before it was necessary. 

"The soul . . . did not remain Nous"--"Neither was 
it possible for all to stand in the intelligible". Here is 
the theme of a declination from the higher. On the other 
hand, it is intimately connected with a clear statement that 
the soul has its own proper hypostasis, and performs its own 
work. Its "work" is described as a lookin-,, i.e., a contem- 
plating, indeed as a threefold looking characteristic of 


its intermediate state. And, however much the soul may 
be a declination from the Nou3 f it is necessary; that is, 
even though soul is "worse" than Nous, there must be soul, 
at its own proper level. This form of the argument, mani- 
festing the necessity for soul, is resumed by Plotinus in 
Chapter 5 of this treatise. 

Can the particular soul perform its work as soul 
without contamination from the body? The argument of 
Plotinus' Chapter 4 involves a difficult mingling of themes, 
and its import i3 not clear. If, or when, soul3 remain in 
the intelligible with the "whole" (the expression must mean 
the Universal Soul rather than the sensible All), they are 
unharmed and "administer with it", like kings who live with 

the pantocrator and do not depart from his palace. Then all 

souls are together in one place. These expressions would 

seem to imply a possible state of things, in which there 

would be a joint administration of the world by the souls. 

But no details are given of this co-administration. Could 

particular souls have the particular care of individual 

bodies while remaining in the intelligible with tta« Universal 

Soul? Plotinus furnishes no hint here of an answer to this 

question, but begins immediately to soeak of the individual 

soul's seeking to be by itself, its fault in falling from the 

innocent state in which it governed together with the Soul- 

of-the-All, its departure from, and isolation from, the whole, 


Its "lookin " to the part, its escent Into tao tomb 

- ^ ,. ^ 40 
of the body. 

The passage just summarized would seem to Indi- 
cate that the governance of individual bodies by partic- 
ular souls can 'oe effected only by the "departure" of 
these souls frora the Universal Soul. The lun jo used 
■ight suggest that this departure is voluntary and avoida- 
ble. Plotinus, however, understands it to be necessary. 

The soul descends by the eternal and necessary 
law of its own nature, ^ for it necessarily has a double 

life, the life of the intelligible world and the life of 

the sensible world. ' The ueacent is free in that it is 

due to its own nature, necessitated in that it is due to 

the necessary law of its own nature; the :;oul can be said 

to suffer punishment for what it has done since it itself 

has done it, even though the descent from the better to 

the worse is always involuntary. The "crime" which the 

soul commits by descending into the body is the descent 

itself, or Is the nature of the Individual soul itself 

(the expression is indefinite ). "Thus indeed the soul, 

although it Is divine and from the regions above, comes 

to be within the body: the last of gods come hither by 

a self-activated fall and by reason of it3 potency and 

for the reason of ordering of that-which-i3-af ter it. 

And if it flees ver^' quickly it is harmed in no way in 



having tuken-up-in addition knowledge of evil, and 
in having known the nature of vice, and in having 
exercised its potencies towards manifestation, and 
for hating made-appear works and makings ..." 

Plotinus is almost saying here that the in- 
dividual soul can be present to the sensible without 
contamination, that it comes here only to perform its 
proper function, the ordering of the body, by using 

A C 

powers which would have been "in vain" in the incorpo- 
real world, "The soul is harmed in no way" in doing this, 
"if it flees very quickly". Yet there is still a sense 
in which it "should" not have co ie hither, because "if it 
flees very quickly" to carry with it a residual 
connotation that the soul is 3 till not at home in the 
body. But in the context it seems to relate to a previous 
statement in the 3ame chapter, whe re it is said that the 

soul "which enters the body less" and "withdraws sooner" 

is judged "according to its merits". Thu3 the "moral" 

fault of the 30ul — as distinguished from the physical — 

consists in a plunging deeper into the body and in a 

withdrawing later. 

Now the "physloal" fault of the soul is precisely 

going into the body at all. These two "faults " are, then , 

described in the sa-ue language, the "luoivl" "fault" differ - 



InR only In de/.ree from the "physical" "fault ". TkxlM 
reinforces the view that t,.e 1" fault is, after 
all, still to be taken as a "fault" — that the word "fault" 
here has more force than a mere statement of the inferior 
position of the soul in reference to the Nous. 

Plotinus, of course, no mare than Plato, wish* a 
to say that the ordering of the sensible is cue to a 
"fault". But he is faced with two problems, probably 
unsolvable on Platonic terms. 

The soul, to order matter, needs to be involved 
with matter, because any logos which matter has is due 
to soul, and is in some way soul. Thus soul seemingly 
could not function as ordering matter purely "from above", 
since matter in that case would not have any principles 
In It capable of being ordered. Thus the necessity for 
"lower parts" of the individual soul, the "composition" 
in man of soul and ensouled body, "nature", "logo! pro- 
duced by nature", etc. 

Yet matter is eternally impassible, non-bein. , 

evil. The paradoxes develop: 

Tne soul does not need matter, yet it has poten- 

cies that are realized only in an involvement with matter. 

Matter stands in need of ordering by the true 

beings. For the reasons explained above, this necessitates, 

in effect, an involvement of 3oul, the intermediate 




principle, with matter. But matter i3 yet impassible, 
thus incapable of being ordered. Therefore a multi- 
plication of parts of the soul, and of logoi, in the 
attempt to do what, it would seem, can never even be 

Matter stands in eternal need of ordering. This 
ordering can be accomplished only by the true beings, 
therefore the orderer of matter, the soul, must be in 
some way a true being, i.e., must be in some way in the 
intelligible world. On the other hand, for the reasons 
explained above, this orderer of matter must become in- 
volved in matter, must descend to the evil. This descent 
must always be described, in some fashion, as a fault. 

Yet Plotinus makes the strongest possible atte pts 
to mitigate these paradoxes, and to establish a proper 
level for soul, the intermediary between ITous and the 
sensible world: a level which is worse , but not a worsening . 

That soul is primitively one-and-many Illustrates 
an important side of Plotinus 1 thought. The gradation 
of the One, the One-many, and the One-and-Many is eter- 
nally fixed, and is an expression of the nature of reality. 
Soul, and souls, have their own established character, 
their own place, their own "seat". 

Despite strong expressions to the contrary, he 
tries not to regard this as a fault, as a culpable falling- 


off from unity. The highest part of the World Soul, 
eternally blessed, is eternally in the Nous and loses 
nothing of its blessedness by being 30ul, by fulfilling 
its role in governing the sensible universe. It cannot 
forsake its soul-character and be purely Nous or purely 
One; it is fixed as Soul. Precisely as soul, a partic- 
ular soul may turn from the body and realize its (already 
effected) articulation in Soul. As we have seen, it may 
be able to do thi3 without renouncing Its governance of 
the body. 

"ature, the l^wer part of the World-Soul, is 
eternally fixed as a level lower than that of Soul proper, 
a level of contemplation which falls short of the clear 
contemplation of blessed souls which remain in the Nou3. 
Yet, at least according to the entire "gradation" side 
of Plotinism, the forming of matter could not be effected 
without this lower part of World-Soul. It seems probable 
that the Soul falls short of Nous, then, in this respect 
also. Not only is it necessarily one-and-many , but it 
necessarily has a lower part descending towards matter. 

Thus the World-Soul, and nature, its lower part, 
function as an eternally-fixed hypostasis and/or hypostases 
on the soul-level, and not as moments in a dialectic either 
of thought or of being. 


Soul — Poiesis 

Plotinus presents still another view of the 

relation of Soul to what is beneath it. The Soul of- 

the All produces the visible cosmos. In the exposi- 
tion of this doctrine we can trace a relaxation of the 
requirements of poiesis: the immobility of the producer 
is mitigated, and thus its stability in the generation 
of its product is impaired. The Soul produces only at 
the cost of declining in some measure towards Its product, 
which process of declination Is at once the projection 
of "parts" from Itself. 

The universe is never, and never wa3, without 

Soul: the producing of the body of the universe by its 

Soul is an eternal producing. The Soul is eternally 

giving the body its form, its order. 

Plotinus sometimes represents this produoing in 

two steps: Soul makes body subsist; Soul forms body. 

But his thought seems to be that these two processes are 


In producing, the higher part of the Soul remains 

at rest in the intelligible world. Thus Plotinus can 

apply to it a formula similar to those used in describing 

production by the One and by the Nous: it rests according 

as it produces, it3 very aot of producing involves its 


own stasis, pevei Kot0 o rroirjuei . But ttie very 
aot of producing body i_3 the producing of a lower 
part, or parts, of the Soul towards, into, the body, 
to be tae form assooiated with matter, to be the fo. 
in body (although form never unites with matter ). 
Thus the passage on producing by the Soul in 

the short systematic treatise oalled "On the Generat- 

ion and Order of Things after the First" begins with 

the statement that the Soul does not remain immobile in 
producing, in contrast with the One and the Nous whioh 
do, and yet ends by saying that the superior part of 
the Soul does remain immobile. Let us consider this 
text in more detail: 

The Soul does not produce while regaining 
[irutiiob ' le ], but having been moved it gener- 
ates its image. Looking there, whence it 
produced, it is filled; proceeding to 
another and opposite movement it generates 
its own image; sensation; and in plants, 
nature. Now nothing is parted from, or 
cut off from, what is before it. Thus 
the Soul seems to advance as far as plants: 
in a certain way it does advance, because 
there is something of it in plants. The 
whole Soul is not in plants, but becoming 




in plants it is such, that it desoends to 
them, to this inferior region, in producing 
another hypostasis by the descent and beoause 
of good will toward the inferior: for it lets 
the part which is before this, which depends 
on the Kous and is the Soul's own intelligence, 

The movement of the Soul in producing its ioaj e 
is thus twofold: a movement towards the Nous, and an 
opposite movement, presumably towards matter. It is 
not clear why producing by the Nous could not have 
been described in terms of a similar twofold movement, 
except that Plotinus wishes to portray the Soul, the 
properly intermediate hypostasis, as less self-sufficient 
than the higher hypostases. 

This text speaks of sensation and nature, that is, 
the lower parts of t^e Soul, as the images of hi, her soul. 
In other places ensouled body is said to be the image of 
soul. Plotinus' meaning is that ensouled body is the 
image of lower soul, the image of an image--so that 
ensouled body is indirectly the image of higher soul. 

Body is the image of Soul in the sense that It 
is "formed", ordered, by Soul. Now this forming, order- 
ing, Is all that Plotinus means by poie3is. He has no 
existential concern. Alternatively to saying that the 




Soul produces the form of the visible cosmos, he says 
that the soul "orders" the visible cosmos. The Soul 
produces the form of the visible cosmos, which is to say 

that the visible cosmos becomes ordered by the work of 

the Soul. Thus the "producing" of the body _is the 

producing of the lower souls, sensation and nature. 

This is to say that Soul produces body by "forming" it, 

that is, by producing lower souls for it. Although 

soul, even lower soul, is not the same as body, the 

producing of lower souls is, at once, the producing of 


The Soul seems to advance to olants, because the 
lower, or vegetative, soul in plants is continuous with 
the higher soul. But the advance of Soul to plants is, 
automatically, the producing of another hypostasis, that 
is, the Soul produces plants in producing, or projecting, 
an inferior part of itself — the plant soul. 

The higher part of the Soul, the intelligence of 
the Soul, "remains". That is, it "remains" in the sense 
that it does not advance, because its seeming advance is 
really the producing of its lower parts. 

The opening sentence of this passage had said "the 
Soul does not produce while remaining", later we read that 
the higher part of the Soul does remain. At first glance 
the reconciliation seems simple: the first sentence refers 



to the soul as a whole, which does not remain, the last 
to the higher part only. 

But more is involved. "It does not produce while 
remaining, but having been moved it generates its image: 
sensation, and in plants, nature". Sensation and nature 
are the images of the hi^er soul. Therefore the subject 
of this sentence must not be soul-in-general, but the 
higher soul. 

A r ^conciliation might be effected by saying that 
in the first sentence "remain" ( fieV6iV ), since it is con- 
trasted with "having been moved", means merely "remains 
with the Nous". This is not very satisfactory because that 
which remains with the Nous surely stays immobile, at least 
with reference to the production of the visible cosmos. 

This difficulty of interpretation arises simply 
because Plotinus Is describing here an inferior kind of 
poiesis, a declination from the type of producing effected 
by the One and by the Nous. The higher hypostases remain 
immobile in producing: immobility must be at once preserved 
and relaxed in the case of the soul. 

In this connection, it is significant that the soul 
produces by projecting "parts" of itself. The expression 
"parts" of the soul is employed frequently enough by Plo- 
tinus, though not in the passage uDon which we have just 
been commenting. Needless to say, there is no spatial 





meaning involved here. But "parts" expresses better 
than "images" or "traces" the relatively-close involve- 
ment of the soul with its product. The Nous produces 
the soul, its image, not its parts; the Soul, on the 
other hand, produces nature, which i_s its part. Igali , 
a trace (i\yos ) of the One and of the Nous is to be 
found in everything which comes from the One and the 
Nous — but not a part of them. 

In the case of man, the exact roles played by 
the Soul-of-the-All and its "part", the individual soul, 
are not always clear. According to seme texts the Soul- 
of-the-All alone produces the bodies in the world, the 
other souls administer the world; according to others, 
it would seem that the individual soul, in projecting 
its own lower part or parts, produces a body for itself. 
Coordinately, some passages speak of another soul in "us", 
coming from the Soul-of-the-All to form our bodies, to 
which ensouled bodies our higher souls are accidentally 
united. The complications are rendered more serious if 

we consider the unity subsisting between the individual 
souls and the Soul-of-the-All. 

For the doctrine of the production of the body 
by the Soul, one fact, however, emerges from all these 
considerations: the producing of the body involves some 
procession of some souls, or parts of the soul. As ?lo- 




tinus describes this process In another place, 

The Jniversal Soul is always above, in that 

In which it is lta nature to be. That which 

is in order from it is the All, illuminated 

as it were by nearness, as that which is under 

the sun is illuminated. Now the partial soul 

is illuminated in being borne towards that 

which is before it— for then it converses 

with being. When borne towards that which 

is after itself, it is borne towards non-being. 

This is what hapoens when it is towards-itself , 

for when it wishes towards itself it produces 

that which is after it, its imafe, non-being; 

it itself stumbling and becoming most indefinite: 

and the image of this image is the indefinite 

and the entirely dark, for it is a-logical and 

a-intellectual altogether, and stands far aloof 

from being. Towards this it is still intermediate, 

that is, in its proper olace, but looking again, as 

it were by a second glance, it forms the image, 

and, being pleased, it goes towards it. 

The general picture is the same here as in the texts 

mentioned above. The higher Soul remains with the Nous; 

the production of body involves the descent of a lower 

soul to form or order body. A more precise analysis 


reveals many unusual turns of expression, if not of 

The lower soul is an intermediate position: 
directed to the high®** soul, to itself, to non-being. 
"Wishing towards itself it produces it3 image, non- 
being". Is the non-being of matter meant here, or the 
relative non-being of ensouled body? Plotinus does not 
usually say that soul produces matter. Yet, taking the 
expression, "the image of this image" to mean that the 
lower soul is the Imago of the higher Soul, and that the 
image spoken of here is therefore the produced-image of 
the lower soal, we find the product of the lower soul 
described as "a-logical and a-intellectual altogether" — 
which could be a description of matter alone. 

This interpretation is reinforced by what immedi- 
ately follows. The lower soul "looks again" at the already 
produced product to form it. Plotinus might be saying that 
the lower soul, by a first glance, produces matter; by a 
second glance forms it, that is, makes it to be body. 

Whether it is the producing of matter, or only 
the ordering of body which Plotinus describes here, it is 
done only at the cost of the lower soul's "stumbling, and 
becoming most indefinite". This phrase expresses vory 
forcefully his usual thought that soul is denigrated by 
close association with body — here the denigration is not©- 


worthy because it ia taken to be the condition of the 
producing of body. Lower soul, according to this text 

at least, produces only at the cost of a declination in 

itself, "stumbling, and becoming most indefinite". 

The Nous is productive, and its producing ia 

intelligent, but it does not produce by deliberating 

or by discursive reasoning. Similarly, the Soul pro- 

duces "according to ideas" but without any "deliber- 
ation brought in from outside itself", without "waiting 
to examine" and, like the Nous, without logismos 
( XoytCHOS ). In governing its world, it does not 
employ dianoia ( (Jiocvoiot 'discursive reasoning'), nor 


does it have to correct anything: it produces in a 
uniform and consistent way, not by accident, but because 

it knows what is to be, and orders its inferiors accord- 

ing to the pattern it has in itself. 

Plotinua is faithful here to his own notion of 

poiesis. Poie3is is always to some degree intelligent, 

or better noetic, theoretic: this is true even in the 

case of nature's poieais. It ia not deliberative. 

Deliberative making is not natural, but according to an 

adventitious art, which produces obscure and weak lmi- 

tationa. Thus, just as the poiesis effected by Nous 

was superior to that effected by art, so too ia the 

soul's working superior to the working of art. 




Since nature is the lower part of the World- 
Soul, contemplation by the higher part of this Soul 
furnishes the instance of contemplation immediately 
prior to nature's contemplating. 

The World-Soul produces and governs the visible 
universe by a vision, a contemplation: "The Soul-of-the 
All has given to every body to have as much as this body 
can have from it. It remains without-practical-activity. 
( oCFp«ty J^ovcos ) t not governing by discursive reason or 

correcting anything, but ordering by a contemplation 
towards that-which-is-bef ore-it, by marvellous power. As 
much as it is directed to this contemplation, so much is 
it more beautiful and more powerful: having from thence, 
it gives to what-is-after-it, and as it illuminates, so 
is it eternally illumined." 65 

The notion that the Soul gives body as much as 
body can receive is the notion, found in Plotinus before 
Proclus, that what is received is received according to 
the ability of the receiver. The Soul does not work by 
"practical" activity in Plotinus 1 sense, that is, it 
works not because of want but because of super-abundanoe. 
It orders all things by a vision, a vision of the Nous; 
working by this vision of the Nous, it produces and governs, 


either body, or its own lower part, nature; and through 
nature, body. 

The "vision" by which the VJor Id-Soul produces 
and governs is not an affair of discursive reason. This 
point was established above, where it was shown in passing 
that the knowledge by which the World-Soul produces is not 
logismos or dianoia • It deserves more detailed 

treatment here, because it will enable us to show that 
several passages dealing with contemplation by Soul refer 
primarily, not to World-Soul, but to human soul, 

Ennead IV, 4, 10-12, a group of chapters princi- 
pally directed towards showing that the Soul-of-the-All 
has no need of memory, demonstrates also the subsidiary 

point that it does not employ discursive reasoning. It 

does not go through a process of seeking and discovery, 

but possesses its wisdom in an eternal changelessness. 

The fact that it produces many and varied things is no 

reason why It should change: the more varied the products, 

the more does the producer remain fixed. The knowledge 

of the World-Soul is one, self-identical, an eternal wisdom. 

We see that the World-Soul is not a discoverer or cognitive 

receiver of the t lings that oome after it, but rather their 

theoretic-poietic producer. 

But while the wisdom of the World-Soul is above 

discursive reasoning, its contemplating still falls short 




of the wisdom of the Nous, In its contemplating, as in 
its nature, it occupies an intermediate position: "With 
regard to what is called the ^oul-of -the-All, it was 
never engaged in evil work, it does not suffer evils, 
but is a contemplation which both comiders (TTefMvoeTv ) 
those things which are below it and hangs ever from those 
things which are before it, as much as the two are possible 
simultaneously; it takes from thence [the intelligible 
world], and directs this world simultaneously, since, being 
Soul, it is impossible that it do not reach to them fto 
the things of this worldl. " 70 

Immediately before this passage, Plotinus had been 
speaking of human souls, which come to a knowledge of good 
from an experience of evil. He says here that this is not 
true of the Soul-of-the-All. 

To call the World-Soul "a contemplation which 
considers those things which are below it and hangs ever 
from those things which are above it" is to display the 
World-Soul once more as intermediate between the visible 
universe and the Nous: this is true even if the first 
function be appropriated to the lower part and the second to 
the higher, since both functions are in-between the World and 
the Nous. 

"The World-Soul considers those things which are 
below it". In view of the fact that the Vvorld-Soul both 



produces and governs the world, the "consideration" 
mentioned here cannot be caused, or conditioned, by "the 
things which are below it". Thus this "consideration" 

can be neither sensation, which in Plotinus' view involves 

a "receiving" from the sensible world, and is therefore 

posterior to the sensible world, nor the discursive rea- 
soning which is based upon sensation. The "consideration" 
here must rather be the World-Soul's eternal wisdom. 

A contemplation which considers the world and 
depends always upon the Nous: the expression here is 
different from that of II, 9, 2, where the World-Soul Is 
said to order the World by contemplating the Nous. Here 
the contemplation might seem at first glance to be direct- 
ed primarily towards the world. This, however, need not 
be Plotinus' meaning. In contemplating the Nous, the 
World-Soul knows the world as the imitation of the Nous, 
an imitation which it is its function to produce. 

The phrase "as much as the two are possible 
simultaneously" seems intended to convey some note of a 
schism in the functioning of the World-Soul. Yet the 

World-Soul encounters no obstacle In governing the world, 

It orders the visible universe with marvellous power, 

it governs the world easily. The word "simultaneously' 1 

it not meant temporally, but indicates the internal 

duality of the World-Soul. The suggestion of a schism can 






point only to the inferiority of the Soul with refe- 
rence to the Nous, its relatively looser unity. As Soul, 
performing its proper function of mediation, it must 
"reach to the things of this world"; it must, simul- 
taneously, maintain its dependence on the Nous. Only 
by its dependence on the Nous does it order the visible 
cosmos; yet its dependence on the Nous is not precisely 
the same as its ordering of the world: it has two faces, 

two parts; their mutual union is not so close as the 

internal unity of the Nous. Thus it would appear that 

the knowing and contemplating activities of the World- 
Soul are not reasoning, yet they are like reasoning in 
that they form a link between the intelligible and the 

We might expect a treatment of World-Soul's 
contemplation, differentiating this contemplation both 
from Nous and from discursive reasoning, in Plotinus' 
treatise on contemplation, Ennead III, 8. But In III, 8, 
5, where he begins to talk of contemplation on the part 
of soul, many expressions seem to indicate that Plotinus 
is talking of discursive reasoning, and, consequently, 
of the contemplation appropriate to a soul other than the 
Soul-of-the All: "But now that we have said, with regard 
to nature, how its generating is a contemplation, let us 
come to the soul, which is before it, and say how its 



contemplation, Its love for learning, its seeking, 
its urge for producing from what it knows and its 

fulness, make it, since it has become altogether a 

theorema, make another theorema ..." 

The expression "the soul Mhleh is before nature" 
would be especially applicable to the higher part of the 
World Soul; it Is applicable also to the human soul, in 
the sense that the human soul, taken at least in its 
highest part, is a type of soul superior to nature. 
But in view of the passages from IV, 4, to which allusion 
has been made above, the phrases "love of learning" and 
"seeking" do not characterize trie World-Soul: it has 
been Plotinus' explicit dootrine that the Worl^-Soul 
does not seek to know, but knows. The soul which learns 
is not the eternally-fixed World-Soul, but the human soul. 

The Immediately subsequent phrases "its urge for 
producing from what it knows" and "its fulness" could be 
appropriated to the World- Soul. 

"Since it has become altogether a theorema" is 
a literal rendering of the original's uuTTyJ Qeupm^U n£v 
yevc)*£vr\\! ; this is not explained either in the context 
or in the immediately following text, but in virtue of 
Plotinus' general doctrine that when a veritable reality 
contemplates it produces another thing as Its theorema, 
the phrase in question probably means that the soul has 



been produced, in its complete reality, as the theorema 
of the Nous. 

The soul "makes another theorema" --from what 
follows it would seem that the "theorema" referred to 
here is the inferior part of the soul. 

The passage proceeds: "The rational part ( t6 
\oyia"Til<ov ) f the soul is above, and towards-the- 
above; ever filled and enlightened it remains there: 
the other part of the soul participates this, which has 
participated in the first participation." 7 ? 

A soul is being spoken of, a soul with two parts, 
the higher of which is called the" rational ." In V, 3, the 
second treatise before this one in the chronological order, 
Plotinus has dealt with the "rational". It is the highest 
faculty properly in ug, the faculty by which we Judge 
images issuing from sensation according to the rule fur- 
nished by the Nous. The Nous is not counted among the 

parts of the soul: it is ours only when we use It. "We 

are not the Nous: we are according to the Nous by the 

rational part of the soul (to AoyicrTiKOV ), that first 

receives [from the Nous]... This is what we are: ... the 

principal part of the soul (to Kupiov Tn> ^ uxns ), 

intermediate between two powers ... the worse the power of 

sensation, the better, the Nous." 

Plotinus, then, understands by the rational part of 







the soul something proper to human knowing, some- 
thing vhich is not at all the same as the abiding 
wisdom of the World-Soul. Sinoe, then, the highest 
part of the soul spoken of in III, 8, 5, is this 
rational part of the soul, there is strong reason for 
supposing that the soul referred to here is the human 
soul. It is true that the expression "principal part 
of the soul" In the passage just cited could, by itself, 
be taken to mean "principal part of soul-in-general", 
but since "reasoning" is not the correct characteriza- 
tion of the World-Soul's knowledge, the expression 
must mean "principal part of the human soul". 

And yet, despite the weight to be attached to 
such phrases as "love of learning", "seeking", and "the 
reasoning power", It is still not perfectly oertain that 
Plotinus Is speaking of the human soul In III, 8, 5. 
Certain expressions In the lines immediately following 
those just discussed suggest rather the World-Soul: 
"the soul (or lower part thereof) reaohes everywhere 
and there Is no place where it is absent"; "since 

then the soul becomes everywhere and there Is nowhere 

where its aot is not ..." It is possible, however, 

that Plotinus is speaking here of the presence of the 

individual soul everywhere in the individual body. 

Ill, 8, 5, In which, ultimately, we cannot be 


certain of whioh soul Plotinus is speaking, is followed 
at once by a ohapter dealing with praxis and learning, 
to show how they are contemplations and lead to con- 
templation: a seotion clearly referring only to the 
human soul. 

The detailed exposition of Plotinus' chapter on 
the soul's contemplating has led us, therefore, to this 
conclusion: the treatise on contemplation does not con- 
tain a specific presentation of contemplating by the 

World-Soul which is at once elaborate, and applicable 

beyond doubt to the World-Soul, 

Some indications of the contemplation appro- 
priate to World-Soul may, however, be gained from the 
seventh chapter of this same treatise. This chapter, 
summarizing previous sections, contains several general 
observations on contemplation. Since, however, the 
previous chapters have not treated contemplation in 
nature and in the higher part of the World-Soul, but 
rather, it would seem, contemplation in nature and in 
the human soul, even those general observations should 
be applied to the higher part of the World -Soul only 
with oaution: 

"That all thing3, including those that are 
truly beings, are fraru contemplation and are 
themselves contemplation, is now clear. 


Theoremata are likewise those things which 
are generated from true beings when they 
themselves contemplate: some are theoremata 
for sensation, for knowledge, some for 
opinion. Actions aim towards knowledge as 
their end, and desire is desire of knowledge. 
Generatings proceed from contemplation and 
terminate in a form, which is another theorema. 
And in general, since everything is an imitation 
of the producing-bein^s, it produces theoremata, 
which is to say, forms; and generated entities, 
being the imitations of beings, show that the 
purpose of producing-beings is not producings or 
practical actions but the result itself — that it 
may be contemplated. This is what acts of dis- 
cursive thought ( 6ietvor(<rfeis ) wish to see, as 
before them do sensations, whose end is knowl- 
edge; and before sensations, nature produces 
within herself a theorema, which is a logos, and 
brings to completion another logos. ^ 

"All things, including those which are true beings, 

are from contemplation, and are themselves contemplation". 

Applied to soul, this sentence would seem to mean: 

1) That the soul is from the sslf -contemplating 

of the Nous. On this point we may observe 
that there is no specific development of this 
theine in the present treatise. 

2) That the soul is itself a contemplation. 
Here again a difficulty arises from the doctrine 
of III, 8, 8, that in the ascent of contemplation 

from nature to soul to Nous the contemplations 

become ever more closely united to the oontemplators. 

Soul would appear to be a contemplator which is not 
united to its act of contemplating — how then can it 
be said simply to be a contemplation? Yet Nature 
likewise is called, simply, a contemplation. 

"Theoremata are likewise those things which are 
generated from true beings when they themselves contem- 
plate ..." This expression, taken by itself, would justify 
our saying that the soul is the theorema of the Nous. 

The next phrase, however, throws some doubt on 
the plausibility of this interpretation. "Some are 
theoremata for sensation, some for knowledge, some for 
opinion." In the first place, the enumeration appears 
to be an enumeration of activities of the hui;:an soul, 
in which case the whole sentence would mean only that 
the true beings, in contemplating, generate theoremata 
for the human soul. 

But what are theoremata? We recall that, from 


its composition, the word "theorems" can mean either 
ob j e c t of contemplation or work of contemplation. 
In III, 8, 8, in the allusions to the Internal theorems 
of the Nous, it apparently means object of contempla- 
tion. What is its meaning here? 

A work of contemplation could be conceivably 
also an object of contemplation, either for the being 
which produces it, or for another. From III, 8, 6, 
it would appear that ordinary human productive activity, 
praxis, has as its end the production of a work, a 
theorema, which can then be contemplated by the worker. 

Now when the Nous, at least, contemplates- 
generates, that which it generates is not its own object 
of contemplation. The Nous is self-knowledge, It is its 
own object. It is true that it knows its imitations in 
knowing itself, but this would not, without a great deal 
of qualification, justify calling these imitations the 
objects of the Nous' knowledge. 

The higher part of the World-Soul has a relative 
completeness which would 3eem to preclude the possibility 
of its generating either nature or the visible cosmos as 
an object of contemplation. Its object of contemplation 
would appear to be in one way the Nous, in another way 
itself. It must, then, generate nature and, through 
nature, body, as works of contemplation. 




On the other hand, Soul in its function of 
ordering the visible cosmos, is the being of the 
visible cosmos. In this sense, its object of con- 
templation could be said to be body; but only because 
the being of body is soul. Thus even in this function, 
its function as nature, soul is its own object of con- 

It would seem that the only oases where the 
object of contemplation could be other than the con- 
te.iiplator, are those where a work of contemplation, 
projected outside this conteraplator either by the con- 
templator or by a higher hypostasis, is t o be assimilated 
to this contemplator for the contemplator 's enhancement. 
This state of affairs obtains only In praxis and in 
learning. In praxis the operator makes for himself an 
object of contemplation; in the case of learning, objects 
of contemplation, coming to the human soul from without, 
are assimilated to the soul itself. But nature does not 
require these prolegomena to contemplation, so a fortiori 
neither dees Soul. The Nous, the higher part of the 
World-Soul, and nature, do not produce objects of contem- 
plation for themselves, but rather, as contemplative 
producers, works of contemplation. 

Therefore, It appears that the passage in question 
says two taings: 

1) That producing-beings produce works of 

2) That these, or some of these, works of 
contemplation are objects of contemplation for the 
human soul. 

Thus "theorema" is taken in these two senses in 
the second sentence: the works of contemplation, gener- 
ated by the true beings, are objects of contemplation 

for human sensation, knowledge, and opinion. 

The subsequent sentences show an intermingling 
of the two themes. Generatings terminate in a work of 
contemplation; everything, as an imitation of the contem- 
plative producing-beings, produces* a work of contemplation. 
But that "actions aim toward knowledge as their end" is 
to be understood, in the light of III, 8, 6, to mean that 
ordinary human productive actions produce works-of-contem- 
plation, which in turn are, for their producers, objects 
of contemplation. Since everything is an Imitation of 
the, it produces a work of contemplation. 
"... generated entities, being the imitations of 
beings, show that the purpose of the producing-beings is 
not producings or practical actions, but the result itself — 
that it may be contemplated". It would be difficult to take 
this expression to mean that the generated entities in the 
visible cosmos, the i-nitations of the true beings in the 


Nous, show that the purpose of the true beings Is 
that these generated entities be contemplated, since, 
as has been said, the generating of the visible cosmos 
does not produce precisely an object of contemplation 
either for the Nous or for the Soul-of-the-All, and it 
does not seem likely that Plotinus can mean that the 
simple purpose of Nous or Soul in projecting them is to 
furnish objects of contemplation for the human soul. 
It might seem that Plotinus refers once more to human 
practical activity and its projection of a work-object 
of contemplation. 

The next sentence lends some support to this 
interpretation, but raises further questions. "Acta 
of discursive thought wish to see results that may be 
contemplated" — this may mean that discursive thought, 
relatively disunited, has for its end contemplation, 
and, by a quasi-practical action, projects parts that 
will later be united in contemplation. Sensation has 
this nisus towards contemplation, and it too is a 
projection for the sake of subsequent unification. 
The mention of discursive thought and of sensation 
here recalls the observations on learning in III, 8, 6, 
and reinforce the view that Plotinus' main concern In 
the entire treatment of contemplation as it pertains 
to the soul is to snow how the activities of the human 


soul are directed towards contemplation. 

In the last sentence, nature is listed with 
the powers of the human soul, and is plaaed "before", 
that is, in this case, below sensation. The impli- 
cation is important. On the one hand, Plotinus has 
given no clear dootrine of contemplation in the higher 
part of the vorld Soul, or in Soul-in-general, a contemp- 
lation which could serve as a link between that appropriate 
to the Nous and that appropriate to nature. In Its place, 
the section on contemplation in "the soul before (above) 
nature" has been devoted to the relation to contemplat;' on 
of various parts and powers of the human soul: now, as 
the section draws to a close, nature is assigned a posi- 
tion among the powers of the human soul. 

The issue of this for Plotinus 1 doctrine of nature 
will be discussed in Chapter VI. Here only a provisional 
determination can be made. If, as the texts indicate, 
Plotinus means in the present chapter to delineate a 
type of contemplation above that appropriate to nature, 
nature's contemplation must in some way be inferior to 
that connected with discursive reasoning, learning, sensa- 
tion, and practical activity. 

In sum, the contemplating appropriate to the Soul- 
of-the-All is a changeless eternal wisdom which produoes 
the sensible world as its work-of-contemplation, wnile re- 


maining In its higher part Immobile. The cognitive 
activity by which the huraan soul is characteristically 
Itself Is logisiaos, viiich can produoe external works-of- 
contemplation by praxis, and perhaps internal works-of- 
contemplation by itself. Both of these conteiuplators- 
producerc oeej, up to this point, to be superior to 
nature as a contemplative-producer • 

Chapter V 

Plotinus' account of the production and gover- 
nance of the visible universe through the poiesis-theoria 
of the Nous, the Soul, and nature, gains a new dimension 
from the incorporation into his thought of a freshly- 
conceived notion of locos. 

The doctrine of logos, as it appears throughout 
the Enneads, especially in III, 2, clearly owes much to 
the Stoics and perhaps something to Philo. Plotinus, 
however, acclimatizes logos to his philosophy by treat- 
ing it as an immaterial principle, and by articulating the 
notion with the scheme of the hypostases. It is not 
itself an hypostasis, but an aspect of Nous, of Soul, of 
nature. In Plotinus' remoulding of the Stoic doctrine, 
the reasonableness of the world becomes the presence of 
intellectuality in all things. Nous and Soul are each a 
logos and a sum of logoi. Nature is a logos. Logos is 
not a distinct hypostasis, but the intellectuality present 
In everything from the Nous downwards. 

Logos — Nous 
According to Plotinus' doctrine in Ennead VI, 4, 




the Nous is, as it were, one Logos* but the 1'ous is 
being, and otherness is appropriated to bein^ and not 
to non-being: the one of being is never absent from it. 
Thus the Nous is many and various, but as various and 

many, it is one. The Nous, one logos, which is real 

being, contains many logo!, which are real beings. 

The intelligible world, the Nous, is solely 
logos, and, 'Nous, then, Immobile and at rest, giving 
something of Itself towards matter, fashioned all things. 
This logos flows forth from Nous. For that which flows 
forth from Nous is logos, and it flows forth always, so 
long as Nous is present in things. 

According to this text, the influence of Nous 
UDon its inferiors generally, and upon matter oarticu- 
larly, is a f lowing-f orth of logos. Plotinus does not 
say that Nous-as-logos flows forth, nor that the losoi 
within Nous flow forth. Nous remains immobile and at 
rest. Logos (in some sense yet to be determined) flows 
forth, and it? doing so brings it about that Nous is 
present in all things. In other words, logos is the 
vehicle of somethins-of-Nous, bringing about a presence 
of Nous in its inferiors. 

When Plotinus describes the Soul as lojos and 
logoi, the language he uses shows the diminution of 
intellectuality, and the relaxation of unity In the 


direction of the sensible All, in the descent from 
loua to Soul. The Soul is the logos of the Nous but, 
as the image of the Nous, it is an obscure logos. It 
is a logos, and in a way a Nous, but it looks to 
another— that is to say, it contemplates the Nous, in 

comparison to which it is deficient. Logos, coming 

from the Nous, makBs the Soul to be knowing— a clear 

indication that logos means intellectuality. 

The Nous supplies the Soul with logoi, fills 

the Soul with logoi, fitting it for the production of 

the sensible All. In the Soul, as in the Nous, all the 

logoi are together, but they are, as it were, further 

relaxed and ready for deployment . They are separated 

in the Soul's product, the visible cosmos. 

The Soul is at rest in itself, easily governing 

the sensible All according to reason. Yet logos, 

reason, the expression of the primitive through-and- 

through duality of the Nous, is "different In relation 

to itself" (i.e. composed of the same and the other), 

and so produces the maximum otherness, contrariety. 

This contrariety Is resolved and at peace in the Nous 

and in the Soul, but in the sensible All it finds 

expression as a war of logoi, as a deployment with 

collision and mutual impedences. 

This Is to say that the sensible All presents 


Itself as a world in whioh things are opposed to one 
another, In which there is a strife of the good and 
the worse. This ultimate expression of logos as 
oontrariety does not, however, destroy logos as order. 
The opposing logoi finding deployment in the sensible 
All are ordered by the soul of the All In its aspect of 
one logos . The logos of the All Is like the governance 

of a dty, and like a harmonizing drama in which the 

individual souls and logoi are the actors. 

The rule of logos in the visible universe, a 
rule guaranteed by the faot that the Soul, the emissary 

of the Nous, and the vehicle of logos from the Nous, is 
the being of the visible universe, is, In Plotinus' treat- 
ment, equated with providence. 

For Plotinus, providence is simply the intellec- 
tuality of the universe, the presence in It, and its 
governance by, logos as the representative of Nous. 
It is not an anthropomorphic care for the world by the 
higher hypostases, nor is it, precisely, foreknowledge, 
or even knowledge, of the visible universe by the Nous. 
The visible universe is not an object of knowledge for 
the i;ous: the Nous knows itself, and produces the 
visible universe through the intermediation of Soul, 
the vehicle of logos and logoi, as an Intellectual 
production. It is "fcreknovn" only in the sense that 



knowledge, which is the Nous, is metaphysioally prior 
to it as its cause. 

Plotinus' reasoning here rests on a firm convic- 
tion of the goodness and intellectuality of real being. 
Svil men, noxious beast3, etc., not only do not escape 
the order of world logo3, but must have a part to play 
in that order. He makes only a slight attempt to show 
a posteriori what that part could be. 

The Soul's oroducing of the sensible universe, 
treated in our previous chapter, can now be assessed 
further from the aspect of logos. 

The Soul, as a logos and a sum of logoi, is 

unquiet. In a striking passage, Plotinus says that 

its entity is the potency of logoi, and vihen it acts, 

according to its entity, towards other things, that is, 

towards the sensible All, its act is "logoi". Since 

It acts towards the sensible \11 by producing it, this 
passage means that its producing of the sensible All, its 
forming of the visible cosmos, is a "logizing" — a brin - 
Ing-to-order aocording to reason. To say tliat the entity 
of the soul Is a potency of logoi means, in this connect- 
ion, that the soul is pregnant with the "dispersed" logoi 
of the sensible All. 

This is borne out again In the several passages 
where Plotinus compares the activity of the soul to the 




functioning of the spermatic logos in the individual 
animal. Just as the spermatic logos brings about an 

unfolding into unequal but coordinated parts, so the 
Soul-of-the-All, as a logos, brings about a non-homo- 
genous, but ordered universe. 

Considered as the universal logos, the Soul-of- 

the-All i3 a paradi^ , a prefiguration of the worla- 

order, an intellectual illumination in the direction of 
matter. 17 What the World -Soul prefigures, the individ- 
ual souls accomplish according to the pre figuration, or, 

as in a drama, they act out their parts as the '.'orld- 

Soul prepares these parts. 

The assignment of parts in ti>e world drama is, 
of course, a partitioning of logoi. Although, accord- 
ing to one passage, all the logoi which are present in 

the V.'orld-Soul are present in each individual soul, all 

are not simultaneously active there. 

The visible universe is the encounter of logos 

with matter. Matter, non-being, is the root of both 

blind chance and blind necessity. Both, are &AOVic< 

"unreasonableness". Logos, the forming and ordering 

intellectual principle, dominates matter in the direction 

of order and goodness. The visible universe is good and 

beautiful insofar as it has any trace of being — because, 

for Plotinus, a trace of being is a trace of Nous, a 




trace of Intellectuality, In a word, lo, os . 

Plotinus' in this treatment of the 
visible universe is the same which will appear later, 
in a different guise, as the participation of flatter in 
the intelligible a • Working out oertain strong sugges- 
tions he finds in Plato, but surpassing nis Platonic 
inspiration, he argues, with innumerable shifts of 
phrase and illustration, that what is in any way 
"being" in the visible world is the trace of intelli- 
gence found there. His meaning is that Soul and nature, 
each in its turn a logos and a bearer of logoi, cause 
intellectuality, a diminished intellectuality, to shine 
on the oUsourity of matter. And to say that the visible 
universe is produced by logos and is, in its reality, a 
deployment of logoi, is, for Plotinus, to say that it 
is produced by contemplation, by nature-contemplati; . 
For to produce, to produce a form, that is, to for. , 

is to fill things with logoi, to make them works-of- 


contemplation, in a word, to contemplate. 

This striking identification of producing- 
governing by logos with producing by contemplation 
cannot be strange when we consider that logos is 
intellectuality, and, beneath the Nous, diminished 
Intellectuality. To loglze, to form, to contemplate, 
to produce — in Plotinus 1 thought these are one. 


t is there not a disparity between logos 
as diversifying intellectuality and contemplation as 
resting and stable? Not entirely, for Nous, even 

considered as a logos containing logoi, is at rest. 

So also, comparatively speaking, is Soul. And for 

its part, contemplation also Involves duality, the 

duality of contemplation and c on te up la tor. 

The Soul, containing the logoi of all things in 

the visible universe, gives logo! to the bodies of the 

visible universe. Thi3 giving of logo! is the pro- 

ducing of these bodies; that is, a body, together 

with its size and extension, is brought-about by a 

corning of logos upon rjatter. This coming of logos 

is, from different aspects, a coming of unity, of 

form, of beauty, of life. The trace of unity is 

the trace of the unified Nous, and ultimately of the 

One; the trace of form and beauty is the trace of 

intellectual being, and so again of the iiousj the 

trace of Soul is the imitation of life. 

An individual soul is, like the Soul-of-the 

All, a logos and a sum of logo! . In this connection, 

Plotinus frequently, though not always, used the Stoic 


expressions "spermatic logos" and "logoi in the 3eed". 

But these logoi are diminished actualities, just as 
any logoi beneath Nous are diminished actualities. 


The development of a living thing from a seed thus 
becomes an instance of proliferation of coordinated and 
"unequal" logo! in the material universe, and as such 
can serve as an illustration of the eternal production 
of the entire sensible All by "orld-Soul as lo^os. 

Locos, given by Soul, proceeding fro.i 3oul, 

"comes upon" matter. Expressions such as this might 

make one think of logos as an intermediary between Soul 

and matter. It Is not that, and for two reasons. 

First, that lo^os, although it is often convenient, 

both for Plotinus and for a commentator on him, to 

speak of it substantively, is always an aspect of Soul, 

always the ,; orld-Soul or an individual soul as the 

bearer of a proliferating, diminished intellectuality. 

Thus to say that logos "from" soul comes upon matter 

means that soul, as an intellectual orderer, comes 

upon matter. Second, matter, the matter wnich logos 

Is said to order, adorn and unify, remains for Plotinus 

impassible non-being. Logos, no more than Soul, really 

unites with natter. To consider the Soul as lo^os 

serves to display it more cogently as the fashioner of, 

and the reality of, the visible cosmos, but not to 

bring it any closer to a union with matter. 

Plotinus does make attempts to surmount the 

barrier between Soul-logos and matter. He speaks in 


one place of a fitting of nutter to logos by lo;_os, 
"j.nd 1st us say that the logos has in itself also 
the logos of the /natter. It uake 3 (works over) the 
matter for itself, making it according to itself, or 

finding it harmonious. For the lo^os of an ox is not 

upon any other matter but the matter of an ox..." 

This last quoted passage occurs in a place 
where he is explaining that the deficiencies of 
deficient men are not to be attributed to their par- 
ticular natters, since the particular soul has a matter 
befitting itself. In the quoted excerpt there is ti e 
arresting suggestion that logos or soul actually changes 
matter, actually fits it to itself, in-far ms it in an 
Aristotelian sense. This is, however, weakened by the 
alternation "or finding it harmonious". 

The initial piirase "the logos of the matter" 
implies that matter Itself ha3 a raj son , an intellec- 
tuality, and is not, after all, inert, and 

this in turn recalls that Plotinus said once that it 

is "the last of forms". 

Plotinus' reworking of the notion of logos 
enables it to serve as the focus of Intellectuality 
vis-a-vis proliferation in the descent from the Tous. 
Logos is reason as coordinated intellectual interplay, 
it i3 intellectuality in its successive involvements 


with multiplicity as it descends to the munyness of 
the visible cosmos. Logos is an articulation of 
logoi, an ordered intellectuality which appears in 
successive stages: in its highest foria in the Nous, 
diminished and with a further proliferation in the 
Soul, imitated and still further dispersed in nature 
and in tlie sensible All, 

Intellectuality must descend from the Nous. 

"The Nous was not so constituted as to be the last 

of tilings". It can desoend only by diversifying; 

without further diversification it would remain the 

relative unity of the Nous, It can remain Intellectual 

by ordering tlie diversification. 

Further, there is an urge for diversification, 
as well as for unity, in intellectuality itself. 
Intellectuality is necessarily duality. As it first 
appears in the Nous, it has not achieved the diversifi- 
cation of which intellectuality is capable. Thus 
intellectuality itself demands further diversification, 
In things lower than the Nous, even though this diversi- 
fication is had at the expense of diminution of Intellec- 

Sue}; are the various and mutually -balancing strains 
Plotinus incorporates in "logos", Lo^oa is intellectual- 
quality as diversifying. Understood this way, It is no 


stranger to his philosophy, nor Is it alien to the 
scheme of the hypostases. The progression of things 
froiij the ious is an irradiation of intellectuality. 
The Soul, its higher part in the Nous, its lower 
part brlnrinj about a reflection of intolle otuality 

on inatter, is a vehicle for the dlvarsifying-intellec- 

tuality, the loyos, that descends from ?]ous. 

"or VI 


.-"lotlnus uses the word pliysis ( (f>v^(s 
'nature 1 ) in several sondes, which aro nocoosarily, but 
easily, rUntinjuished. In a general sense, nature can 
mean the "constitutl3n" of a thinr; or a principle. Thil 

is the sense of the tor™ in which Plotinus can refer to 

1 2 

the nature of the body, the nature of foro or even 

the nature of the Good. tin nature can mean hypostasis, 

aa when Plotinus calls the One the first nature and the 

is the second nature. 

l * in "nnead , 3, and in many other places, 

nature means the lower part of the :>oul-of-the-All. 

This lower part of the J 'orld-3oul, functioning in plants 

and in the earth (for Plotinus, the earth is alive),' is 

closely correlative to the generative-vegetative soul in 

man and animal • 

Nature seems to the ^ap between the lntel- 

11 lble and the visible worlds, and in nature the dis- 

tinction between these two worlds Bl ;ht anpear to 
blurred. ">n the one hand nature i3 a soul, ' e lo os, 
an ei^os ( •forni-a3-intelli ible' . It is 



7 g 

lie, distinct from matter and distinct from bod. . 

Plants and anlnals have nature , "as it wore, 

lyin;- near or beside . atter does not enter into its 

constitution. On the other and there is the state- 
ment: "'/hat comes from soul and is reflected onto matter 
is nature, in which; rather before which, real bein a 
cease. \nd these are the last of the Intel ' le: for 
from these onward there are only imitations." 

Unless the "rather before" is taken in a strong 
sense, ■ '. does not see-i warranted here, Plotinus is 

locatin; nature on the borderline between real bein s 

and imitations. As soul, it mij;ht be expected to 

be real being* but it is the last irradiation of Soul 
towards body. The most enfeebled of real thin ;s, it 
is not exactly a real being. The contemplation which 
it has and is, contemplation like that of a sleo or 
dreami' an, is inferior to the contemplation aporo- 
priate to a real be ' . Yet it is an Intelligible form 
distinct from the visible form, which is a lo os pro- 
ceed inr; fro:, it. " 

ature is not exactly real bein;, nor is it, 
without qualification, soul. It is true that Plo- 
tinus describes it as lower soul, as the offspring of 

Soul — but oven bod,;, ins -far as it 


ia being, is soul. Nature is "the last of soul". 
Soul, by descending Into plants, makes another hypos- 
tasis. Thus it "seema to" descend, it descends "in 

a way", there is "some thing of" soul, a traoe of soul 

in plants. Nature is a mirror-linage of soul, whloh the 

soul give3 to the body. Nature, again, is an image 

of the World Soul's wisdom, "possessing the last 

irradiated intellectuality (logos)". The continuity 

of nature with Soul ia thus Plotinus 1 linear contin- 

uit:/- of an inferior with a superior. 

Because of the identification of contemplation 

with producing, Plotinus calls the product a theorema. 

As we have seen in Chapter IV, this does not mean that 

the theorema is the object of contemplation, in the 

sense of that-whioh-is-seen. Nature is not the object 

of soul's knowledge, yet soul "contemplates " nature. 

Similarly, the visible cosmos ia not the object of 

nature's knowledge, even to the slight extent that 

nature has knowledge, yet nature "contemplates" the 

visible cosmos. The thin;--en endered is its theorema. 

It contemplates, and the lines of bodies come-to-be • 

Nature is more towards the exterior than soul. 

and yet Its contemplating-producing is still poiesis 

rather than praxis. Nature I oea not produce in 

order to have something to look at, to contemplate 






(men of inferior intelligence do tuia ). Its 

producing is at one with its weak self-knowledge. 
Its product is an overflow from its quiet contemp- 
lation. It Joes not produce because its contemp- 
lation is weak (thi3, again, is characteristic of 
men of Inferior intelligence ), rather, In a manner 
imitating the Nous and the Soul, it produces because 
of the vestigial strength of its contemplation. That 
its contemplation Is weak, however, indicates that 
its produot will be more external, more diffuse, even 
visible, and that the visible form, Its product at 

one or two removes, will be "dead" and incapable of 

further production. 

In general, Plotinus h-lds for the superiority 

of intellectual energy to mechanical energy. Zven 

the debased intellectuality which is nature can 

produce better and more serenely than levers and 

impacts. ~ The doll-maker, whose work is often 

compared to that of nature, does not produce even the 

colors that he uses. Nature produces all the variety 

of colors and patterns. 

If theorema be understood to mean the product 

of Nature's contemplation, there remains the problem of 

Its objeot . Admitting all the qualifications necessary 

if we are to speak of nature 's knowledge, what is it 


oiture sens or knov/3? Plotinus says that ! 
l ' n in nature is directed 
ir below, 
e " expect it to be dlreoted above, to 
a Soul* But we must remember that, after all, nature 
is only a part of the Soul, not a fully-constituted 
hypostasis. Nature i_s BOUl at a certain level. To 
speak of nature '3 contemplation is to speak of t 8 
last vesti re of 3oul's conte.nplati on, which is that 
and nothing more — a vestige, that is, of a eo item- 
platlo.; director 1 toward, or rather seeking to become, 

o'is. ature does not know the i or part of Soulj 
it is rat ier a reflection or shadow of this higher 

en Plotinus says that its contemplation is 
not rHrected below, he rnust neari that as a knowing 
or seeing, however liable, it is not directed towards 

matter. ' 

According, to the line of interoretation we 
have been developing, the trieorema of nature is its 
nroduct, the sensible universe, and its object of 
knowledge, insofar as it has knowledge* is itself . 
Two difficulties present thems Ives hero. First, 
there are expressions in v Jinead III, 8, I4. that mi ;;ht 
suggest that the "thi iendered", the visible cosmos, 


la the object of nature's contemplation; second, 
and opposed to tho first, there are suggestions in 
the same place that the theorems of nature *.s within 
nature Itself. 

Plotinus says thst nature "sees what is after 

itself in such a way as is fitting to it" und so 

"accomplishes its theorems". The notion of seeing 

what is after itself, despite the affirmation just 

made that its contemplation is not directed below, 

is satisfactorily explained by holding that "below" 

refers to matter, "what is after it" to the visible 

cosmos. Nevertheless, if we take the qualification 

"in such a way as i3 fitting to it" to refer only to 

the weakness of nature's contemplation, it wc-ld seem 

that the object of nature's vision is the sensible cosmos. 

A further difficulty immediately prosonts itself because 

in this case an at-least-metaphysically prior knowledge 

of the visible cosmos would be the condition for the 

producing of the visible cosmos. 

But if the qualifying phrese is taken to mean 

also that nature "knows" the tilings of nature insofar 

as they exist in nature as their generator, the seeming 

contradictions disappear, and the context, which reaffirms 

the stasis ard the lack of "searoh" on the part of nature, 

oar, be allowed its full value. The weakness of nature's 




contemplation is not such that it must produce objects 
for itself, but rather that it must produce bodies, or 
better, emmattered logo!, 

"Nature makes the theorema in it, which is a 

logos, and brings-to-completion another* logos." 

Since Plotinus has said that the thing-engendered, 

the visible cosmos, is nature's theorema, he must mean 

here that the visible cosmos is in nature in the sense 

that body is the Soul. 

We must remember that for Plotinus the human 

soul and the Soul-of-the-All are imperfectly distinct 

and in a certain way they are the same. Plotinus 

describes nature both in reference to the human soul 

and in reference to the Soul-of-the-All. In the case 

of the hu.ian soul nature Is the vegetative power below 

sensation and discursive reasoning, the soul which, he 

adds, dominates in plants because in thera it is alone. 

In the Soul-of-the-All there Is neither sensation nor 
discursive reasoning; nature is its lowest part. As 
lower part of the Soul-of-the-All, nature is the 
vegetative soul in the visible cosmos. The reference 
to plants in the context in which Plotinus is speaking 
primarily of nature in humans shows that the two mean- 
ings of nature are the same. 


The question thus arises whether sensation and 
discursive reasoning are higher as contemplations than 
nature. Sensation, we will recall, is a receiving from 
things. It is posterior to the sensible world. Discur- 
sive reasoning Is based on sensation. Both are"search- 
ings" rather than "havings". Further, they are occupied 
with external things. They are not in complete posses- 
sion of their objects, since their objects are not per- 

fectly within them. 

Nature, on the other hand, appears to have more 
interiority. Although nature is, as Plotinus says, 
"more towards the external", this first of all means 
more towards the external than is the higher part of 
the Soul-of-the-All, and secondly, it is more towards 
the external in the sense of tending more to produce 
the external. The phrase does not mean that nature is 
"more towards the external" with regard to its object 
of contemplation. 

The interiority of nature is based on its being 
the lower part of the Soul-of-the-All. Just as the 
Soul-of-the-All is self-contained with reference to any- 
thing material, so is nature. When Plotinus speaks of 
the contemplation which nature has, he calls it a " sort 
of synesis ( o~JvGr<.& ) and synesthesis". These expres- 
sions connote a kind of knowledge, in fact they might 


even nean self-knowledge, self-possession and self- 
knowlelge, although, 3ince they are applied to nature, 
obviously a debased and weakened form of self-knowledge. 
Therefore Plotinus seems t o be describing nature as a 
knowing power, a knowing power which possesses its 
object internally, a knowing power whose object is 

itself. It does not search, for to search is to not 

yet have, that is, nature does not, like discursive 

reasoning, look for an object it does not yet possess. 

"It possesses, and for this reason, namely that it 

possesses, it produces", which is to say that it 

possesses itself as object of contemplation, and for 
this very reason it produces the sensible universe as 

Yet is nature, according to Plotinus, definite- 
ly superior as a contemplation to sensation and discur- 
sive reasoning? In III, 8, 5, he begins to speak of 
contemplation in Soul, in Soul which is before nature. 
Here we learn that Soul is fuller than nature, is 

more at rest, has more than nature. But we find in the 

same sentence that Soul loves learning and searches. 

Yef'to search i3 to not-yet have". Nature is a contemp- 
lative-producer because it has its object. Is Soul a 
better contemplative-producer although it does not yet 
have its object? Is search better, after all, than 




Following the line of interpretation developed 
in Chapter IV, we might say that the Soul which has 
more than nature is the World-Soul, the soul which 
searches, and so has, apparently, less, is the human 
soul. But since Plotinus speaks here simply of Soul, 
without explicitly indicating the distinction, the 
difficulty remains. It would not help to point out 
that the highest part of the human soul, its nous, 
is a contemplation superior to nature, because in the 

passage in question it is not this part, but the 

discursive part which Is Inferred to be a contemp- 
lation superior to nature. 

The way to a resolution may be opened by con- 
sidering the fact it is not clear whether Plotinus 
Intends nature 'a contemplation to be conscious or not. 
Thus sensation and discursive reasoning might be supe- 
rior to nature's contemplating In the sense that, 
although the former do not perfectly possess their 
objects, they are conscious. 

It may seem strange to speak of an uncon- 
scious contemplation, an unconscious knowledge. But 
as nature is the last dilution of Nous before matter, 
it could be that Its contemplation is less than 
conscious. In two places, in fact, Plotinus seems 


to Indicate that nature has no knowledge at all. 

Thus in II, 3, he asks, "How can the Soul produce 

anything according to thoughts? For it Is the logos 

in matter which produces, ana that which produces 

In-the-way-of -nature (<f>u<ru<a>s ) is not 1 t or 

l Ightf but a power altering [l] matter, not knowing 

but only acting in the manner of imprinting its 

figure or :.hape u^on water . . ." 3 , 

and in IV, I, there is the statement, "'..'isdom is 

the first, and nature is the last . . . whence nature 

doe3 not know, but only produces . . . nature does not 

have imagination; Intellectual knowledge is better than 

imagination; imagination is between the imprint of 

nature and Intellectual knowledge. Nature has no grasp, 


no syne sis . . ." 

Nature does not know; it is only a productive 
power. But according to the treatise on contemplation, 
nature, as a productive power, is a contemplation. Is 
it taen a contemplation which is not knowledge? 
According to the treatise on contemplation, this would 
be impossible. Theoria and noesis have been equated. 
Nature "sees what is after It 5 ', and there is, explicitly, 
"nature ly knowledge" ( (pvriKn )/OTi<rts ), 

But we must recall the very limited claims that 
are made for nature's knowledge in ill, 8. Nature has 


only a sort of aynesia, a sort of anyes thesis, 
further, Plotinus says, "And If anyone wishes to 
aocord to nature a certain synesia or perception, 
it is not a3 we 3)e'ik of peremption or synesis in 
others, but ad if one were to compare the jjjynesls 
and perception^ of sleep (or dreai.i, tou uWvov ) to 

those of one who is awake, "^l 

Does Toa UTTYoU here niean "sleep" or "dream* 1 ? 
cannot be certain. 

Let us suppose that nature 's knowing is like 
a dream. What would thi3 mean? Like a dream in being 
uncertain or false? jvo, nature '3 knowledge is, as we 
have seon, a possession and not a aear-oh, therefore 
certain and not falt;e. Like a dream in being vague? 
Some dretur.3 are vivid, and Plotinus must have knovn 
thi3. Perhaps Plotinus means like a dream in being a 
reflection of, being dependent on and a re-play of, 
waking knowledge. Or perhaps he means only to indicate 
a type of knowledge which ia, in a general way, infe- 
rior to waking knowledge. In any event we could be 
aure of no more than that, if "dream" is the correct 
word, he intends to indicate some sort of similarity 
between nature 'a contemplation and a dream. It would 
be an excess of ron.antic imagination to auppose that 
Plotinus means, literally, that plants and trees are 


dreaming . 

If Plotinus says that naturely knowledge is 
asleep, this could mean that nature's contemplating 
is completely unconscious. The fret, however, that 
for Plotinus knowledge In the exemplar of knowledge, 
the Tous, is completely selfccr.scious and so completely 
conscious, would render unlr'kely the possibility that 
there coiild be, in his world, 8 knowledge so beclouded 
that it is completely unconscious, Fe ssys in another 

place that whatever there is of soul in body is asleep— 

but in th.1s sense, even sensation is ssleep. Further, 

even if the expression under question means "deep", 

Plotinus is not saying that nature is asleep. To call 

Plotinus ' nature a "sleeping spirit" would be another 

bit of roi tmt ic-idealist poetry. 

It is probably best to take Plotinus' brief 
description, if it oar even be called that, to mean 
that nature's knowledge is close to unconsciousness, 
that is, close to non-knowledge. 

The divergence between the statement that 
nature "does not know" in IV, 4 and the treatment of 
nature as a knowor in III, 8 is, therefore, not so 
great as it would at first appear to be. It is 
reduoible to a difference in emphasis. Nature Is a 
contemplation, a knowledge, but it is a most obscure 


knowledge. As a knowledge, It Is both better than, 
and worse than, sensation and discursive reason: 
bettor, in the sense that it is a firm possession 
cf its object; worse, in that it is more effaoed. 
Nature, then, is the last of the contemp- 
lative-producers: the last oroduoer thet produces 
simply by being q self-possession, simply by bein^ an 
immobile cor templet ion « With nature we have reached 
the penultimate stage in the watering-down of the 
Nous ' being ^nd intellectuality. Nature is 3till 
not the last reflection of Nous: that, so far as 
xge have seen, would be the sensible cosmos itself. 

Chaoter VII 

According to the doctrine developed in the pro- 
ceeding chapters, the sensible world is derived from the 
N^us, which is true being, by the intermediation of the 
contemplating-producing of the Soul-of-the-All and its 
lower part, nature. The sensible world is imitation 
being and it derives whatever reality it has from true 
being by the intermediation of Soul. 

But according to another line of reasoning in 
Plotinus 1 philosophy, intermediation by ^oul may not be 
necessary. Since matter participates directly in the 
intelligible world, the sensible world may be a direct 
product of the Nous. 

To understand what Plotinus means by the partici- 
pation of matter in the intelligible world, it is neces- 
sary to advert to his doctrine of matter. For Plotinus, 

matter is non-being. It is not only non-being, but, in 


a significant phrase, it has the being of non-being. 


Matter, which is even in its way a form, the last of forms, 
has its own nature; but the nature of matter is to be non- 
being. Matter keeps its own nature: it is what it is, and 
It remains what it is 5 , because it is impassible and un- 
changeable. "Just as for the others, which are forms, 
there is no alteration according to their entity ( OUCTic/. ), 



for their entity consists In this; In the same way, 
since being ( TO tiVoQ ) for matter Is bolng as matter, 
that according to which matter is is not altered, but 
remains. As in the previous case, the form is unalter- 
able, so in the latter, matter is unalterable."' 

Matter l_s not; it 13 always about to be. Its 
to-be, as Flotinus says, is a reference to that which It 
"will" be, but, we may add, which it will never be. Matter 
is a perpetual ftvplrfl&iotl towards substance; ° always trying 
to be, but never being; always trying to seise being, but 
always thwarted. As absolute evil, it always tries to 
seise the good, but never succeeds. 

3ince matter is being- in- potency, and only being 

In ootoncy, since its nature is to be in eotency, it 

can never be in act without ceasing altogether to bo what 
it is. 15 

Furthermore, considerations based on the production 
and constitution of sensible things show that matter must 
remain being-in-potency. Nothing goes away from being, In 
the sense that nothing is detached from the Nous-Being. 
There is no emanation in the sense of e. literal out- 
flowing, involving a diminution or an alteration of the 
very substance of the Nous. If there were, sensible things 
could exist without matter, because their logoi would not 
have to be received into a substrate. But since no reel 


being departs from reaL being. It follows that the Images 
of real-being, which are the logoi of sensible things, 
must be received into another — into matter. If real being 
appears, or appears to appear, in the visible cosmos, this 
insubstantial receptacle, matter, is necessary. Now this 
other, matter, is not real being, nor does it receive real 
being. Not being real being, and not receiving real being, 
it Is and remains non-being. Matter Is a seat or place 
prepared for being, but being does not come to it: thus it 
is, and remains, being in potency. 

Matter cannot be in act, it cannot unite with form: 

it cannot be formed. Significantly, Plotinus speaks in 

several places on the form on or upon matter ( CTTi \)AT\ ) 

> ""V v 16 

rather than the form in matter ( €V UAT) ). The impassi- 

bility of matter rules out any true matter-form union in his 

sensible world. 

Yet certain of Plotinus' statements about matter 

appear to contradict this view. He says that matter is 

always ordered, that it was never not ordered; form 

leaves no matter unformed. Again, "' e posited. . .that when 

form comes-upon matter, matter ffrom being] as It were a 

,. 20 
dream of the good, has become on a higher level. Further, 

Plotinus says that sensible matter, presumably under the 

influence of form, " becomes something determinate or limited , 

not indeed living or intelligent, but a dead-thing which is 




ordered. " 

In view of what baa been said above, these can be 
no more than expressions, from the point-of-view of matter, 

of matter's attempt to "seize" form. Matter is ordered, is 

formed, becomes on a higher level, becomes something 

def lnite-- insof ar as it can , which is really not at all. 

Plotinus compares matter to a mirror, and the 

"beings" which are "in" it to the images in a mirror. 

This comparison excellently illustrates Plotinus' whole 

doctrine of matter and sensible things. If the things we 

see in a mirror were really there, then it could also be 

true that real beings would be present in matter, but of 

course what is reflected in a mirror is not really present 

there. A mirror seems to possess everything, but actually 

possesses nothing. No more than the image in a mirror 

affects the mirror, do the reflections or images of real 

beings uo on matter affect matter. Further, the mirror 

which is matter is non-being, so that the visible cosmos 

is, as it were, a reflection which is non-being in a mirror 

which is non-being. The sensible world is a phantom in a 

phantom. Both matter and the sensible world have the 

"being of non-being". 

The sensible world is non-being, but Plotinus does 

not despise it. It is beautiful, it is the best possible 

image of the Intelligible world. In some passages he 


speaks as though It were a reproduction of the intelli- 
gible world. He speaks, for example, of plants in the 


intelligible world, the paradigms of the plants "here". 

Yet the "forms" which are seen in the sensible 

world are a lie, matter is a lie, the sensible world is 

a lie. T *e can even say that the images of forms which 

appear on matter have no similarity to the true beings, 

Plotinus 1 point is that the sensible is a lie if 
it is mistaken for the intelligible. In this way, the 
best possible Image is a lying image. The "forms" in 
the sensible world have no similarity to the true beings 
precisely because they are non-being. 

Plotinus Is not saying that there is no being in 
the sensible world — the intelligible world isi the being 
of the sensible world, but that there is no being in it 
qua sensible. On this point he is explicating Plato 
brilliantly. In the order ot true knowledge the lying 
images of the senses are nothing and tell us nothing. 
As we begin to become Nous, as the world begins to 
become intelligible for us, the world begins to be seen 
as what it is: the intelligible world. 

The comparison of matter to a mirror has been 
useful to Plotinus. But he sees it is in need of further 
correction. Matter "mirrors" true being. But not only is 
It a mirror of true being which is itself non-being, not 



only is there a radical dissimilarity between the 
reflected and the reflection, but there is no spatial 
separation of this "mirror", and the reflections uoon 
it, from real being. 

The Intelligible universe is neither far from, nor 

near to, the visible universe. That is, the notions of 

noatial seoaration and contiguity, which have relevance 

only within the visible universe, are inaoolicable here. 

Spatial notions can be applied only metaphorically. 

Granted this, it can be said that the visible universe is 

in the intelligible, as the body is in the soul, the 

"less" in the "greater": "Then, if there is established 

in the intelligible All, something else which is "beside" 
it, this Ithe visible AllJ oarticipates in it, and haopens- 
together-with it and derives its power from it. The visible 
All does not partition the intelligible, but finds itself 
in the intelligible All because it comes from the intelli- 
gible All: while the intelligible All does not come-to-be 
outside of itself. For it is not possible for bein=£ to be 
in non-being, but rather non-being is in being." 39 

Clearly, Plotinus does not mean here that the intelli- 

^ible All is a place containing the visible All. The 

visible All is "in" the intelligible as the derived strength 

is in its source of strength, or better, since the images in 


matter are actually without force, as the oowerless is in 


the powerful; again, as the produced Is In the producer. 

The notion bears a similarity to the conception of 

Christian ihilosophy that the universe Is in iod. but 

since the visible universe is, for Plotinus, non-being, 
there is, to his way of thinking, all the stronger reason 
why It must be "in" the Intelligible universe. Paradoxically: 
since it has no being, no strength, no truth, it can in no 
sense be "outside" of being, power, and truth: because what- 
ever it has (and it beingly has nothing) must be in complete 
dependence upon being, it can have no separate existence--it 
is in no sense "on its own". 

Plotinus employs still another spatial metaphor, that 
of presence . The intelligible world is present to the sensi- 
ble world--and yet again not present, since the intelligible 

world remains by itself ( e^' eotUTOO ), even when some- 

thing tries to be present to it. The incommensurability 

of being and non-being, of the intelligible world and the 
visible world, makes it impossible for one properly to be 
present to another. But as the visible is the immediate 
image of the intelligible, it would be similarly improper 
to say that they are distant from one another. 

The foregoing themes--matter, the Impassible, un- 
affected by form; matter, the mirror, reflecting true being; 
the visible All, the reflection of being on matter, as neither 
near to nor far from, th9 intelligible All; the "presence" of 




the visible All to the intelligible--express more-or-less 

metaphorically what Plotinus formulates most theoretically 

as the "participation of matter in the intelligible world". 

The notion of oarticioation is that of a contact of 

matter to the intelligible world, by which matter receives 

what it can receive. r>ut since, by this "participation", 

the intelligible world is not dissipated, and matter is not 

affected, it can equally well be called no participation. 

Thus Plotinus can say that matter "oarticipates, and does 

not participate, in the intelligible world". 

Matter is not affscted by its participation in the 
intelligible world. This follows from all that has been 
said so far in this chapter. Matter is impassible; it can- 
not change. Participation is not, then, a Dassion for matter. 
The mode of participation leaves matter intact, leaves matter 
non-being, leaves matter evil, leaves matter purely and always 
being in potency. 

Yet matter "participates" in the intelligible world, 

further, each thing in the sensible universe oarticipates in 

the whole of the intelligible universe. Plotinus' thought 

is that the intelligible universe itself cannot be oartitioned 

and is not partitioned. We remember that it is the one-many, 

more perfectly united than the sensible universe, since it is 

more perfectly united than the soul of the sensible universe, 

which is one and many. 




The intelligible universe cannot be partitioned. 
This would seem to mean that the intelligible universe is 
not divided into parts, one part of which is reflected by 
one part of matter to give the image of tree for examole, 
and another part reflected by another part of matter to 
give the image of horse. Rather, apparently, any part of 
matter--if we can speak of parts of matter--any matter 
reflects the whole of the intelligible universe insofar 
as it is able. 

Matter thus appears to particiDate directly in the 
intelligible world. Matter is, as it were, touching the 

idea from all sides and yet not touching it. There is 

nothing in between matter and the idea. This brings us 

to our problem. There is nothing in between matter and 
the idea. It would seem that there is no room for inter- 
mediation, the intermediation effected by Soul and nature. 

Chapter VIII 


We have traced our problem, a technical one In 
the Interpretation of Plotinus' philosophy: the problem of 
the articulation of nature-as-contemplation v.'ith the omni- 
presence of being. Our treatment has remained close to 
Plotinus' texts; we have presented "nature" and "contem- 
plation" as they appear in his developed, scientific philos- 

But what did "nature" and "contemplation" mean to 
him and to his hearers when he first began to discuss "nature" 
and "contemplation"? What did they mean prior to his philo- 
sophic elaboration of them? That is, what, basically, Is the 
"nature" and what is the "contemplation" which he begins to 
talk about? The answers to these questions must be sought 
in the philosophic tradition in which Plotinus thought and 

"Physls" (4>U(T is) , the Greek word commonly 
translated 'nature 1 , is derived from the root <f>\i~ by the 
addition of the nominal suffix -(T1S 

This nominal suffix, as seen in such words as 

c/ " 

<>npe<n<S (radical meaning) '(a) taking', eupfecns 



•finding, ' covory', Kplcris •• ' ', e^is » .• », 

etc . , rally fc to ti d 

"-In-:". There la no ; 

Doeo -ens sennet* r.ction? 1 only, it Mould , 

to the 0Kt«at that t!:o verbal atom to \.:.lch it la Joined 
connotes action. £ Tokens A 4^ is » for exar, lo, do 

not, at :. philoao hl< ..'ific id ox-olan- 

a ti one , a i ;. n 1 f y • a • 

yain" ti oonnoctod v;ith <J>ueiv ' row', 

4>ue(T0c^i I ov;\ o <t>L»s »off », d TO <(>JtoV 

1 t'. in view of theoo affinities, ysls" be 

:sn to moan, radically, ' : », 'Growth 1 , or 'prlnel lo 
of growth ' . 

The root <j)U-, however, which io connate with t: 

ishrit bhu- 'be, becone 1 , the Latin "fui" v , id 

the ioh "be", 2 seems able to b i more bar.ic nc~.nia 

•be'. oia", accordingly, can mean *■ ' ', or, a 

somewhat abstractive force, 'boincnoon'^ — 'tho intrinsic 
conctit ti n of a thinr', ita 'nature* In thlfl otil te 

familiar -e. Thia ir. bly ti Initive Min1flfl of 

the word. 

.yais" a in tho pro- ;ecratlc ftp 

it ro to v thia I . For , in Reraelltui 

fr. 1* io the ■ aaion: "... whan I List! . ish 

each t. " accord in Ltl '. . , olare how it la." 


It 3eems reasonable here to take the two parts of the phrase 
as In a. position to each other. To "declare what a thing 
Is" is to "distinguish" It "according to Its phy3ls", and 
thus "physls" must be the 'being', the 'constitution' of 
the thing. ^ 

Similarly in Heraclitus fr. 106, the expression 
"the physis of day" seems susceptible only of the moaning 
'the essence, or constitution of day. 1 When, according to 
Kirk's plausible assimilation of this fragment to fr. 57, 
Heraclitus is made out to say "they do not know the physls 
of day and night: for it is one" there 3eems to be no doubt 
that Heraclitus would be saying that day and night arc in 
essence (nature) one, possibly, as Kirk maintains, because 
they "form the two parts of a single process."' 

Heraclitus fr. 123 "Phy3is i3 accustomed to (or 
likes to)hlde itself (or be hidden)" is short and ambiguous. 
Kirk defends the meaning 'the real constitution of a thing, 
or of things severally' by an analysis of other fragments a 
both of Heraclitus and of other pre-Socratlcs, in which 
"physls" occurs. 

hen Parmenides in fr. 16 says "for that which 
thinks is the same tiling, the physis of the members, in 
each and all men", and when iinpedocles say3 In fr. 63 that 
"the physis of the members is divided", "physis", while 
retaining the basic meaning of intrinsic constitution, 
beingne3s, seems also to carry the notion of matter, stuff." 


This Is not strange since the pre-^ocratlcs knew only, and 
were dealing only with, materiel being. 

Parmenides fr. 10 deserves detailed consideration: 
"And you shall learn the physio of the sky (oL\Bep\<*v re 
^fcriv) and all the sirens in the sky, and the resplendent 
works of the glowing sun '3 pure torch, and whence they 
became ( OTTTt6^€V e{eytvovTO ). And you shall learn 
likewise the wandering v/orks of the round-eyed moon, and 
her physis. You shall know too the hervens that surround 
us, whence they became ( CvQev £<j>u ), and how necessity 
took them and bound them to keeo the limits of the stars." 

Since, in the first sentence, oTTTToOev 
t^eyevovTO means 'whence they became', perhaps a 

•become' or 'grow' meaning should be reflected back upon 
"physis". Thus Parmenides would be talking explicitly 
only of the becoming of the sky: 'You shall know the 
becoming of the sky, and from what it became.' similarly, 
because of the apparently equivalent phrase in the third 
sentence, £v6ev e<pu , the second sentence may refer 
to the becoming of the moon, even though in this case 6V0ev 
CCpu is not applied to the moon, but rather to the heavens. 

It remains, however, that in both cases "physis" 
may mean present intrinsic constitution. Thus the first 
sentence would bo rendered: 'And you shall know what the 
sky is, and all the signs in the sky, and whence they 
became (or arose).' The second and the third (in paraphrase): 


'You shall learn what the moon is. You shall know whence 

the heavens became. ' Since Parmenldes 13 ape; ' of 

"the physls of the sky" and of "whence it became", it would 

be hichly improbable that "physis" here could moan 'present 

becoming* or the 'present growth'* If it means becoming at 

all, it must moan beconlns from its source. Thus the choice 

of interpretations, which sa not well be made, would be 

between 'present constitution' and 'becoming from a source'. 

In any event, Parmenides fr. 10 stands as an Instance in 

which "physis" may possibly mean 'becoming'. 

3till another meaning of "physis" may be present 
in Snpedocles fr. 3: ". . .in all things mortal there is 
no physis of anything, nor any end of baneful death 
( 0cCVo<.TOi0 Te\euTr\ ) , but only mixing and changing 
around of what has been mixed; physis is but a name applied 
to it by men." 

If O^vc^loio T^Afc VTl\ means 'end of baneful 
death' in the sense 'end in or by baneful death', and if 
this latter sense is opposed to "phys/'V, it is likely 
that "physis 11 means birth or generation here. But If 
OoLVcJLTOiO TO^tvrq mean3 'end of baneful death' in 

the sense of 'cessation of baneful death' Itself, the 
meaning of the whole fragment v;ould be altered considerably. 
Empedocles would be saying that there is no beingness in 
mortal things, i.e. no substantial, permanent nature, nor 
any cessation of death — possibly oven of blrth-and-death. 



In th a there is only a nixing raid unmixing of the sub- 
ut'iitl'l, permanent natures, the four "root3". Hon Ball 
"beingness" what is really only a mlxin rod unmixin r -. Thuo 
the present fragment provides another case In whlob we cannot 
be sure v;hether the meaning of "physis" is 'birth* or 'bcin * , 
'beingness' .-* 

In the pre-3ocratic instances whlob we have been 
examining, it has always seemed possible for "physis" to 
moan being, beingness, intrinsic constitution. This ha3 
been the fairly obvious meaning in some instances, the 
possible meaning in others. For those cases where "physis" 
may not mean 'being 1 | it has been seen that in one instance 
it could mean 'becoming', in another 'birth or generation'. 

Several Interpreters have sought to combine these 
various possible pre-3ocratic noonings of "physic". Accord- 
ing to Kirk, "The root fov- simply means existence, and the 
broad general sense of 4>U(ri<5 , from which all specialised 
senses are derived, is 'essence' or 'nature', the way a 
thing io The idea of growth is naturally included- 
in natural objects structure is determined by growth . . .) — 
and, what is at times connected with this, the way it normally 
behaves. Aristotle's va.rious attempts at definition in 
Metaphysics A do not vitiate this view. In fret, passages 
in which (jiUcriS must mean 'becoming' or 'growth' are very 
rare." 14 


Kirk considers Binpedocles fr. 8 one such passage; 
after dice It briefly he adds: "This doe3 not altar 
the argument that the most common early sense of <pu<m 
Is 'being', though the idea of growth is not excluded _.nd 
may be emphasized on particular occasions. "-^ 

While these remarks synthesize the possible 
meanings of "physis" rather neatly, there is the livelihood 
that they o\;e more to Aristotle's "attempts at definition", 
t Is, to his lengthy analysis of the meanings and inter- 
connections of meanings In Metaphysics A , or to a fairly 
extensive philosophizing upon pre-3ocratic statements, than 
they can ov;e to a close rendering of those 3trtements. e 
have seen an instance in Which "physis" might mean either 
•present constitution' or 'becoming', but not both, and not 
one Shading off Into the other. ^° '.• e have seen another 
instance In which "physis" may mean either 'birth' or 
'ousir.', but again, these meanir. )ear to be severed 
sharply. 1 ' It is true that the meanings 'beingness' and 
'material substance' coalesce, but that is because they 
are, for these philosophers, one and the same meaning. 

j may therefore adopt the folio-, lag statement 
of Owens' as a summary of our Investigation of the meanir. 
of "physis" in the pre-3ocratics: "Actually, in most in- 
stances of its use in the pre-Socratic fragments, it sig- 
nifies rather Clearly the being or the intrinsic constitution 

T ft 
of something, in the sense of v.hat the thing 13. 


"Physls" in Plato 

.ato frequently uses the ',;ord "ohysla" in the 
sense which seem3 to >redomlnate in the pre-3ocr-.tica: 
'being, beingness, intriivjic constitution'. The following 
are a few reasonably clear instances: "the physls of num- 
bers"; 9 "the physls of any form, 3uch as the hard"; 
"the true physis [of the Sophist]"; 21 "the physls of body"; 22 
"the light r.nd the heavy may best be exanined with the so- 
called physis of above and below"; ^ "what physi3 pleasure 
has". In each of these cases "physis" could be replaced 
by "nature", taken in the sense, still familiar in English, 
of essence or constitution. 

In the Statesman , in a myth of retrogression, 
occurs the statement: "they go back again to the physi3 of 
a new-born child. -* Since this could equally be rendered 
"they go back to being a new-born child", the meaning of 
phy3is here seems the same a3 above. 

The phrases "according to physis" and "contrary 
to physis", which Plato, as well as Aristotle, Plotinus, 
and others, uses in numerous places, are ordinarily to be 
related to this radical meaning of "physls", although 
"physis" as employed in then may have overtones. 

Further, ther are in Plato Instances of the 
verb 4>ufc\v itself being used with the radical meaning 
"be". For example, in the Tlmaeus it is argued that no 


point 13 actually above or below, because the universe 13 
spherical. A "static" description of the sphericity of the 
vons is followed by: "The cosmos being [being by nature] 
thus (tou 6r\ Kocr/^ou ToCUTrj Tte<|>uKOTOS ) , .hen nyor. says 
that any of these aforementioned points is above or belo- , 
does he not in Justice seem to have used an improper word?" 
In the Cratylus , Socrates argues that tilings have 
their ovna proiuer ouslal, and that they do not fluctuate 
according to our fancy but are " per se , relating to their 
own ousla, ' Just as they are ( rffTep TTe<j>ui<ev )." This 
indeed might mean, "Just as they came to be", but Socrates 
Immediately proceeds to ask: "is this then the v;ay things 
are (oiuToi fiev jcv eiv outu> TT€cf)UKoToC) , while their 
actions are not in the sane way? Or are not actions them- 
selves a form of being?" ° 

Following this he argues that an action, such as 

t / , 29 
cutting, has a physls and is to be done 6J TTdfUKe . 

It becomes obvious that in all of these cases the form of 

<$>V6iv> , coordinated as it is with "physls", is st 

rendered by the appropriate form of 'be'. Someone might 

argue that it is the nature of cutting, or of any action, 

to be a process, a becoming. This is not, however, wh t 

Plato is concentratin. u on here. His point is that neither 

a thing nor an action is arbitrarily what we make it to be, 

that each has its own physls, that it is what It is — and 

the latter notion 13 expressed, in this passage, precisely 


by <|>ueiv 

In a highly cignificcnt phrase In the Parmenldes . 
3o crates is made to say that the "ideas are, as it were, 
paradigms standing in jhysis"- 50 which paradigms other things 
resemble. "Physis" here appears to mean being, reality — 
there seems no trace of any meaning associated with 'growth' 
or 'beconin * . 

A text from the Phaedo introduces the expression 
irepi tyvaeos i<rTOpuiv . Socrates is leading up to his 
critivue of the philosophy of Anaxagoras: "For v;hen I was 
young, Cebes, said I, I w-s wonderfully eager to learn 
that wisdom which they call lcnowledge-by-investigation 
about physis ( Trepi ^uVe^s tcrropiotv) . p r it seeded 

londid to me to know the causes of each, through what 
each came to be, through what it is destroyed, thro- 
what it is." 31 

Plato (perhaps Socrates) is not giving here his 
own notion of :nowl edge-by- inves J Ion about physis. He 
is merely recounting what "thoy" call it. '..'ho are "they"? 
Probably Anaxagoras, 3 possibly his followers, perhaps other 
pre-3ocratics and their popularlzers. 

Vfhat does "physis" mean in this "".-.nowledge-by- 
lnvestlgation about physis"? At first rlance it might seem 
to mean physis as princi xLe-of-becomine. This, however, may 
not necessarily be the case. If "physis" -lens the 'bein ' , 
or 'present constitution' of so .et'iins, to know the c use of 


the thins, to know through what it cane to he, etc., would 
still be l:no\'ledr;e ahoy t its being. This text does not 
establish that either for Plato or for Anaxagora3 "phyals" 
nt either becoming, or principle of becoming or growth. 

A passage in the Go 'hist exhibits "physis", for 
the first time in our discussion, with the apparent meaning 
•princl >le of becoming 1 . Tlie Heatic 3tranger, who presum- 
ably represents Plato's views in this dialogue, asks whether 
we will say that all mortal animals, plants ( <J>UTot )etc. 
are fashioned by the god, or whether the notion of the many 
is true: "Th- t physis generates them from some casual cause 
which, without reason, makes-them-to-grow . . ." ( Tf|V 
6^<nv jlvtj. yevviv irro' nvos onYiocs cLvropcLrqs 
KoU <^V€u 6"iotvoiots tyvov<ri\s )»" The answer, riven a few 
lines further on, is th t those things v.hich are said to b 
by Tihysia are made by divine art. 

. ith regard to this passage we must note that the 
meaning of "physis" employed here is not Plato's own. The 
passage shows that "many" speak of phy3is as a princiole- 
of -generation; that Plato considered this meaning to be a 
familiar one in his tine. It shov:s t] I Lato is not 
prepared to accept a physl3 impelled by a casual, unreasonln 
cause as the generator and fashioner of plants and animals. 
Does Plato hlnself take physis, acting in any way, to be a 
principle of generation for or in slants and animals.' The 
passags at hand does not enable us to answer this question. 

There ia in Laws X a fairly lengthy t xt vhlch 
illustr. tea a way In which Plato 13 willing to acce 

ysis" as something a.:in to ' jrincl la of gener:ti?n'. 
In this ca9e, as In the passage just disc.-ssed, the word 
Is not his ov:n, but comes from sone o onents, "lnv 
tors of ^ysls" , conceivebly the pre- '-era tic physicl . 
These, 3ays the Athenian Stranger (Plato 'a apokeeman) 
"c:.ll fire and water and earth and air the first of all 
[things], and name these 'physis', and say that soul is 
posterior, [made] from them. "25 j n cL j_ n g this they tal:e 
"the first cause of the generation and corruption of all 
things (o TrpojTOv ^eveceoos k«u <j>0ofus ocrnov Jouvnov)" — 
here Plato means the soul — to be last rather than first. 
Thus they seem to be ignorant "of the present and of the 
beginning" ( t^P 1 Kou 6r\ KoO yev€<reoos ) of the soul, 

"that it is among the first of things", that it has become 
( N/evo^evq ) before all bodies, and that it is the source 
( ipx^i ) of their changes." Soul is older than be 
thus What is akin to soul will come before what is eliln to 
body, tforka of art will come first, and what is by phyalfl 
( <J>ua"€i ) ^nd physis will come second. Yet "physis" is 
used wrongly in this case. 2° ',/hy? Because they wish to 
call physis the source with regard to the firsts ( y^vetriv 
Tqv rrepi t<± irpoJTa )j but if soul be shown to have 
become ( )'&yevr\[<6vr\ ) first, among the firsts, not fire 

nor air, it .1 be pretty nearly correct to say that soul 


is What is pre-eminently wlth-respcct-to-physls ( <pua~ei ).- J{ 

Plato la affirming; that the Investigators of 
physls call the four elements "phy si a". Also "they v/ish to 
call physis the source with regard to the firsts." Are 
these two meanings the same? The answer to this would 
de >end upon what "source with regard to the firsts" can 
mean. If it moans 'source of the firsts', the two meanings 
of physi3 would be disparate, since for these opponents the 
four elements must be the "firsts". If it means more 
nearly aimply 'first source', 'the firsts as sources', 
then Plato would be saying that these men called the elements 
"physis" because they were the source — he would be affirming 
that for them "physis" meant ? principle of becoming 1 . The 
latter is the more likely Interpretation. 

The elements of body are not the first, soul is 
older, they have called the elements ohysis, but truly 
speaking the soul is pre-eminently 4 ucrtl : wilv does not 
Plato say that the soul is pre-eminently physis ? Two reasons 
suggest themselves: neither is entirely satisfactory. Per- 

,s <j)V(rei c&oana here rather 'in respect to nature ' than 
'by nature'. Thus soul Is, in regard to a first source, 

6 which rooerly fulfills the role. Or conceivably soul 
is "by nature" because, as the first source, it si:.iply is — 
this would be to revert to the primitive raecnlng of "physis". 
If the former of these interpretations be accented, Plato 
would be Baying practically that soul is physis. 


In any case, Plato In this entire treatment la 
lth on alien vocabulary. "Physi3 n ta.:en as n 
•source of becoming' does not seem to be at hone In his 

"Physis" in rlstotle 

In chapter IV of Book A of his Metaphysics , 
I ch book is, according to its superficial form, a philo- 

soohical glossary, Aristotle defines physis :^ u 


(1) Physis means, in one sense, the genesis of 

crowing tilings, as if one \iere to pronounce the v 
of 4>ucris long; 

(2) in one sense again, that, being first within it, 
from which a growing thing grows; 

(3) again, that whence the first movement in each 

of the things which are by physis i3 in it ao lt- 

self . . .-, 

(4) Again, that from which as a first, any one of the 
thlngs-whlch-are-by-physis either is, or becomes . . . 

The latter is, according to Aristotle, the meaning 
of physi3 for those who say that the elements, either one of 
them, or all four, are physis. Aristotle continues: 

(5) Again, in another sense physis means the entity 
( OucrU ) of the things-whlch-aro-by-physis. 

In this sense both natter and form-or-cntlty are 
)hysis, and, 


According to this, by an extension of meaning, every 
entity ( 'thingness' , oven* ) goamrally is called 
physia, because physis is a certain [;:lnd of] entity. ^ 

Aristotle gives, in the form of a conclusion: 
(6) From what has been 3aid, physis first and properly 
so called is the ou3la of those things •.;hich have in 
themselves, as themselves, a source of movement . . . 
He ends his treatment of physio in this passage 
by relating the other meanings of physis to this final one: 

. . . for the matter is called physis as being 

44 r 

receptive of physis, and geneses cmd growth pre 

called physis] because they are motions [coming] from 


Sfeat is Aristotle doing here? The apparent 
purpose of this paasage is to establish a precise, tech- 
nical meaning for "physis" as used in Aristotle's own 
philosophy. The ultimate meaning (6) is, Indeed, virtually 
the same as the definitions given towards the beginning of 
Aristotle's own Physics , "... physis is a certain source 
and cause of being moved and being at rest in that to which 

it belongs first, according to itself and not accidentally 


. . .", and again, ". . .in another v/ay physis could be 

the ^op4>n and G-ioo-i of thoae things which have in them- 
selves a source of motion . . .". These, in turn, 
the definitlona which are actually put to use throughout 
the Physic o and the shorter physical treatises. 



When a phi OSO her is establishing a technical 
meaning of :. t rm In common uso, allowance must he made 
for a certain artistry, a certain "creativity" in the 
procedure. Aristotle, however, waa not a man interested 
in startling etymological tricks, or in a definition ¥\ ich 
would altogether suhvert a common meaning. Both the five 
listed meanings and the synthetic meaning arrived at in the 
end must have had a firm basis in Gree .': usage up to his 
time. In the case of (4) it is easy to see th; e is 
referring to the physici ; for (5) he mentions explicitly 
Smpedocle3. (l), (2) and (3) clearly reflect wh t traa in 
his time the usual 3ense of <|)ueW , namely, 'grow'. 

It would he unsafe, however, to suppose that he 
is merely recording current or historical usage. 'j?l3totle 
distinguishes several uses of "physls" for the purpose of 
combining them later in a coordinated whole: it is quite 
possible that he sharpens the distinctions between some of 
the meanings to an extent not known in current usage. It 
is probable, too, that he "sees" more in current usage than 
other, less analytical observers, would have seen. 

Aristotle does not state directly his notion of 
the etymology of "physls'i Although it is presented merely 
as "one" meanin;, the <0 3ition at the head of the list of 
a sense (1) relating physio to growing things, suggests 
that 'generation', 'birth', or 'growth* might be for him 
the "first" moaning of "phyois" The final definition does 


desl • . t ;hysia as an ouaia, a belngneaa — but there la 
no hint In the passage that Aristotle recognized a primitive 
meaning of 'be' for the root $V-, Hls treatment of (5), 
where the meaning of "phyaia" is "ou3ia" , shows no etymo- 
logical concern. 

It seems plausible to co bine the definition of 
eta physics A and the two definitions from the Physics . 
Thus Aristotle's meaning is that physis Is the ousla, that 
is, the form, that ia, the intrinsic source of movement of 
such things as have an intrinsic source of movement. Ousia, 
form, and source of movement are in the case of these things, 

Physis is, then, for Aristotle, the ousla of a 
changeable, material thing. His successful essay at defini- 
tion has brought out the meaning latent In the pre-Socratic 
usage, and in the usage Incidentally reflected in Plato. 
Though the etymologicall, first meaning may be equivalent 
to "ousia" itself, the philosophic outlook of the pre- 
Socratlcs had already restricted "physis" to aterial thing . 
Meanwhile "physis" had, or could easily be said to have had, 
meanings associated with those of ^vegQ^i , as 'grov', 
and, b extension 'become 1 . Aristotle's contribution, 
philosophic rathe: than etymological, vafl the realization 
that the ousia of a changeable, material thing is Its 
intrinsic principle of "growth", of lent. By fixing 
this insight in his definition, he welded together the 


'being' and 'growth' meanings of "physis" His definition, 
as a definition, can bo modified, rojected, or ignored, at 
least superficially, by aubse ..'ent philosophers* But the 
basic connection which ho witnessed, or rather rendered 
explicit and so partially effected between 'beingness* and 
'Growth 1 is a permanent, in fact the essential, part of 
the Greek 3 saae to mean by "physis" 

In using the word and the notion "physis" , 
"nature", Aristotle did not restrict himself to his own 
technical meaning. Like his predecessors and successors, 
he uses "physis" at tines in the more general meaning of 
the 'beingness', the 'nature 1 of anything. An arresting 
example is the reference to the nature of being itself in 
Metaphysics P : "Nov; 'being 1 is expressed in aany vays, but 
towards-one, in reference to a certain physis, and not 
equivocally, but as the healthy is always expressed in 
relation to health . . . thus 'being' is expressed in many 
ways, but always in reference to one principle ( etp)(n. v )•" 

The one principle, the one physis is shown by the 
?dlately succeeding lines to be ousla, entity. ° Physis 
is not here a source of movement, but rather a boingness, 
the beingness of being itself, the source in reference to 
which other things, such ae accidents, are expressed as 


Aristotle also uses "physis* 1 in the "collective" 
sense. For example, in the Keta; hyslcs , when speaking of 


the unmoved mover, he can say, "From SUQfh a principle 
thon, deoend the heavon3 and physls''^^ — his meaning seems 
clearly to bo 'the heavens and the world of nature'. 

By integrating, as well as we can, the usage 
in the pro-Socratics and in L to, the meanings used by, 
and those recorded by, Aristotle, and the Influence of his 
testimony in giving authority to these latter meanings, we 
may arrive at a description of what "physis" meant, in the 
sense which became primary, for the Greeks: the beingness, 
the reality of material things, especially of thos? which 
grow and reproduce, but by extension, of all those which 
change, with a disposition to treat that beingness as in 
3ome way a source of growth and change. This, presumably, 
would be the meaning, or complex of meanings, which "physis" 
would evoke originally for Plotinus and his hearers. It is 
the boingness--growth/movenent source in the thingfl of the 
sensible universe which he goes on to call a soul :nd a 

hat the Greeks Meant by Theoria 

Apparently, the original meaning of "theoria" 
( 0etopict }, which came to mean ' contemplation 1 , was the 
sending of state ambassadors ( deuopoi ) to the oracles 
and games; Qtujpos in turn, has an uncertain derivation, 
but seems to be connected with de<* , 'seeing, looking at'. 


A Qeojpos would have been an official see-er, a looker- 

3. ©ti , for Its part, has the sa::e root 
6evL<jQdLi 'gaze . t, behold In awe or wonder', which In 

turn la to be related to O^d^u 'wonder'. 

"Theoria", with it3 connate verb, Qecopeiv , 
seems to have evolved in meaning from ' sending an official 
see-er to the games' to 'being a spectator at the games' 
to 'being a spectator generally' (i.e., simply 'seeing, 
viewing'), to 'con - : , contemplation' • 

These words are, it would seem, not present in 
the extant fragments of the early pre-3ocratics. The 
earliest certain use of them would appear to be in Democ- 

In Democritus, "thooria" seems to have meeu 
'consideration', 9eo>pe?v 'consider': ". . . to consider 
the lives of those who worl: hard" (fr. 191); "love of 
strife, considering what is hurtful ..." (fr. 237); 
"images . . . conspicuous for consideration" (fr. 195). 
In the latter case the meaning may be just 'seeing'. 

Plato employed the word "theoria" and its cog- 
nates rarely; for him it seems to have meant consideration 
or, in some cases, knowledge* In a place in the Phllcbus ^ 
the discussion has turned upon "the pleasure that goes with 
right opinion and knowledge" V3rsu3 "the pleasure which 
goes with falsehood and ignorance." 

Socrates oroceeds: "Let us come to the theoria of 


the difference between these two." The difference between 
the tv/o is then examined from many angles, so much so th 
the original posing of the question is superseded. 

"Theoria" hore means, most orobably, the 'con- 
sideration' — a 'viewing 1 of the difference which takes time 
and effort, and becomes progressively more profound. Or 
"theoria" could be taken to moan the 'viewing 1 which is 
the end of the process of Inquiry and consideration. 

A somewhat different meaning of "theoria" can be 
discerned in a passage of Republic VI. The philosopher is 
said to have "magnificence of mind ( <$io(.voio<. pey^onpeiTtiot. )> 
and theoria of all time and of all roality ( oi)cri'ois )." 
Hfirw then can he think much of human life, or hold that 
death is fearful? 55 

Plato tells us hero t lat the philosopher viev:s 
all ousia, that he views ousia as a whole. He sees ousia 
in all time; he 3ees ousia as it subsists in all time: he 
sees the eternal ousia as it subsists eternally, a- tempor- 
ally. This viewing constitutes magnificence of mind. Plato 
cannot very well mean that the philosopher considers ousia* 
Rather, he knows ousia. "Theoria" in this passage must 
mean a permanent, stable knowing , an a-temporal "seeing" 
of an a-temporal object. 

This meaning appears more strongly In the con- 
cluding part of the so-called "Allegory of the Cave" : 
"in the world of knowledge the idea of the Good is lr.3t 


of all, and Is seen ( op£<rOdL\ ) with effort; once It h 

been seen It is reasoned to be the cause of everything 
right and beautiful . . . and it is necessary to see it 
for anyone v.ishlng to act reasonably eithor in private or 
In public."^ Those who have cone from that world do not 
v/ish to engage in the affairs of men, because they are 
"coming from divine theoriai to human evils.' 

It would seem that the "divine theoriai" from 
which they come is, primarily, the seeing , that is, the 
quasi-permanent knowing, of the Good. They come also, it 
is true, from the reasoning ( avAAoy ktt6<* )that the 
Good is the first cause. 

The theorla whioh Aristotle treats most exten- 
sively is the theorla which, in his philosophy, is human 
beatitude. The discussion centers in chapters 7 and 3 of 
Book X of the lllcouachaen othics ; the phrases "theoretic 

activity" and "theorla" are used constantly, and Inter- 



tat is this "theorla", this "theoretic activity"? 
It is the beat activity: for intellect ( vovs ) is 
the best in us, and the "est of knowables are those 
with which intellect is concerned. Again, it is the 
most continuous. For we are able to contemplate 
( veupew ) more continuously than to do (TTpc/TTe/v ) 
anything whatsoever. And we think that pleasure Is 


mingled, with happiness; no 1 .:, activity in accordance 
with wisdom is the most pleasant of the activities 
in accordance with virtues. For indeed the love of 
wisdom seems to have pleasures m rv3llou3 in purity 
and stability, but it is reasonable that those who 
know will pass their lives more pleasantly than those 
who seek. 3 ' 

Theoria is the activity of intellect, concerned 
with knowables; it is continuous and most pleasant. It is 
more pleasant than the search for knowing, it is, in a 
word, knowing . 

If we call the "theoria" which Aristotle describes 
here 'contemplation', we must use the word in a ve.y exact 
sense. "Conto -plation" can mean in Girlish the act or 
state of considering, thinking over, mulling over--an act 
or state short of knowing. "Contemplation" of this sort 
is not Aristotle's "theoria". Aristotle's theoria is, 
precisely, knowing. 

For Aristotle in Metaphysics A the life of a 
god, of an Unmoved Mover, is an act of knowing, a theori , 
a contemplation* 3° 

Therefor , When Aristotle says that a science 
"eontemplatee everything that is related to one physis",^ 
when he remarks that "grammar coir' tte« all articulate 
sounds", 60 when he says that it is the province of one 
science "to cont 1 to oppositcs", 61 when he says that it 



belongs to ono science to " contemplate being cua being", 
etc., he Is not talking :ibout studying, investigating, 
considering, but about knowing . A science, an e tti <TT n fi r) , 
is for Arl3totle not a consideration, but a knowing. 3 

The traditional philosophic meanings of theoria 
which were before Plotinus were, fore, 'viewing-aB- 
conslderation' and 'viewing-as-knowing' . Following r ris- 
totle, Plotinus tends to adopt the latter meaning. In 
several places, he explicitly identifies theoria v.ith 
knowing £4 specifically with regard to nature' 3 theoria, 
the text of 111,8 makes it dear that, since nature does 
not have theoria by discursive reasoning, or by search, it 
does not have the theoria which is equivalent to consider- 
ation. Rather, for Plotinus, nature' 3 theoria i3 an 
emasc^ilated knowing. The notion of a watering-down of 
knowings to <puTlK.r) vot-jctis is his own development. 
But the notion of theoria as knowing is a traditional one 
upon Which Plotinus may presume when he begins his treat- 
ment of nature as a theoria. 






Chapter IX 

When a man of today hears that Plotinus calls 
nature a contemplation, and a dream-like or sleep-like 
contemplation at that, he may easily suppose that for 
Plotinus nature is not real, as It is for himself, but 
rather a dream. He would likely be amused at the 
"Intellectualism" or "idealism" which could lead a phi- 
losopher to hold that the palpable material world Is a 
dream. Plotinus 1 description seems to rule out the 
possibility that the nature of which he speaks can have 
the reality which nature has for the ordinary man. 

But what does "real" mean for the ordinary man? 

The ordinary man's notions, the notion of the 
real among them, are compounded, it would seem, of 
spontaneous sensuous-intellectual reactions to the every- 
day world, and of the distillations of the philosophies 
which have reached the comnon consciousness. Although 
the task is not an easy one, it will be helpful if we can 
disengage, so far as possible, these two elements in the 
popular conception of the "real". 



Does "real" mean, for the ordinary man, "ex- 
istent" ? Undoubtedly it does, but only in some infra- 
philosophic senso. The ordinary man is not a meta- 
physician, and it would be excessive to attribute to 
him metaphysj a"! Insights in^o, or int« p: featio&fl of, 
existence. Conversely, no i.o of existence haa 
made an Impact on his consciousness. His notion of 
existence i.-, it would appear, purely naive and inartic- 
ulate. Taken as he himself would take it, the notion 
of existence does not illuminate his notion of iiie real: 
in practice, th6 two notions seen to coincide* 

If the notion of existence is not of much help 
in explicating the ordinary man's notion of iiie real, 
what else would serve to elucidate it? Is the real what 
is "there"? To say that the real is what is there is to 
adopt a vulgar Cartesianism of mind or self "here" and 
vorld "the^e". It seems doubtful, however, that the 
primitive notion of the real is, for the ordinary man, 
that of spatial separation from "himself", though in 
some cases he may indeed philosophize 5. t to tho exti 
of a simple hero-and-there epistemology. 

The game type of criticism would apply to the 
notion that the ordinary man's "real" means "posited 
in space and time". To say this would be to make the 
ordinary man a philosopher of more-or-less Kantian 
disposition. The truth appears to be that tho ordinary 

man has a more basic notion of the real, which some 
ordinary men may elaborate semi -philosophically by 
the aid of the forms of space and time . 

The ordinary man calls real those material 
things, such as automobiles, trees, etc., which, as 
he would put it, he can see and touch. Conversely, 
for many, if not most, ordinary men in Western civil- 
ization today, things whicn cannot be seen or touched 
are aooounted unreal. It Is curious that even of 
those who believe, by religious faith, in souls, angels, 
and God, not all would be prepared to say that they are 
real — simply because they are not accessible to sense. 
Some, however, do regard soul, angels and God as "real". 

The comiiion man's attitude is not a philosophic 
sensism. What he regards as real are the " things " 
which he can "see" and "touch". He appears unaware of 
any distinction between intellect and sense; he has not 
heard arguments to the effect that no one precisely 
sees tree or automobile, and it would take a great deal 
of philosophizing to explain these arguments to him. 
He may even say, if questioned, that the so-called sense 
qualities, color, sound, even shape and size, are more or 
less unreal--either because they are "abstract" whioh is 
a catch-all term, or for the simple reason that they are 
not "things". 





The ordinary man does not seem to mean, exactly, 
that "observable " even In his sense, is equivalent to 
"real" or "thing 11 . It is rather that "observability" is 
the guarantee or earnest of "reality". 

The foregoing is the best short description we 
are able to offer of the modern common-sense notion of 
the real. A notion of the threshhold of philosophy, it 
oan be subjected easily, as it exists in the popular 
mind, to interpretation by those distillates of philosophy 
that reach the popular consciousness. In itself, it seems 
to have something to do with existence, understood quite 
uncritically, and something to do with observability, 
which is, it would appear, primitively taken to be its 
norm or guarantee. 

It is easier to define the ordinary man's "unreal". 
He would oall unreal the figments of his own or other men's 
imaginations, things manifestly fanciful, lie would con- 
sider dreams unreal. He probably would take "thoughts" 
(by which he often means imaginings ) to be unreal, or at 
least not fully real. What he calls "abstractions" and 
"ideals" he would regard as unreal. In general, he 
probably would — here adopting as it were immediately a 
popular Cartesianism — regard the "mental" as "unreal". 

Such are the ordinary man's "real" and "unreal". 
Which of these applies to Plotinus' "nature"? The nature 



that Plotlnus is treating i3» according to his own 
account, the nature in plants, that Is, the nature In 
growing things. Let us ask first, then, whether the 
plants themselves, and the trees, which he /oentions 
specifically, are, in the popular sense, "real" or 

We find that what Plotinus knows about trees 
and about plants generally is what the ordinary man 
knows. He knows that plants grow, that they produce 
seeds. He knows that, to ordinary observation, plants 

are living, and material things below the level of 

plant are non-living. He knows that all material 

things, including plants, are extended, separate from 
one another, and impinging upon one another. In general, 
it would seem that Plotinu3 senses the material world as 
we do, and that his uncriticized, pre-philosophic intel- 
lectual conception of this world is basically the same 
as anyone's. 

Does this mean that Plotinus considered the 
sensible universe to be real? "Real" Is not a Plotinlan 
term. Plotinus does 3peak of "being", by which he means 
the veritable being in the Nous, and if we consider 
"real" as an adjective referring to being, the answer 
to the above question is at once "no". In the technical 
Plotinian sense the sensible universe as sensible is non- 


being. But our present question is not answered 
this easily, beoause we are not asking whether the 
sensible universe is "bein,:" for Plotinus, but 
whether it is real for him in the way in i/hich It Is 
real for the ordinary man. 

In dealing with this problem, we will take 
"real" consistently in the pooular sen3e, and "being" 
in Plotinus 1 technical sense. If we distinguish, 
therefore, Plotinus' naive, original view of tree3 and 
plants from his philosophic evaluation of them, it la 
clear that, since his everyday world is the same as 
that of the ordinary man, trees and plants are real 
for him — real in the popular sense. They are observable 
They may be technically "non-being", but they are never 
called "non-existent". They are not unreal: not ficti- 
tious, nor, pre-philo3ophically, at any rate, mental 
or Ideal. 

YJhat about the nature in trees and plants? Is 
this also real? 

The notions of nature which Plotinus inherits 
from the main stream of the Creek philosophic tradition 
are, as we have seen in the last chapter, that of the 
"beingness", the intrinsic constitution of material 
things, an intrinsic constitution which is a principle 
of growth or change, and that of Nature in the "col- 




lective sense": "the world of nature". 

Let us inquire whether nature in this sense-- 
not, it should be noted, nature as Plotinus ultimately 
philosophizes it, but the nature of which he speaks 
when he begins to philosophize about it — whether this 
nature is real for the ordinary man. 

Nature with a capital "n", that is, Nature in 
the so-called collective sense, meaning the sum-total 
of non-artifioial material things, is real for the 
ordinary man. It is, loosely, observable. 

But what of nature as the intrinsic consti- 
tution of a changing, material thing? This notion of 
nature 3tlll has currency. Yet its use by the ordinary 
man seems to have become restricted. He would speak of 
"human nature", he would say that "It is a dog's nature" 
to do this or that. He might or might not say that "it 
Is the nature of a tree to ...." He probably would not 
speak of the nature of iron or gold. 

If the ordinary man were asked whether the 
nature of a tree is real, he would be perplexed. It 
is not observable. We may single out two highly probable 
responses : 

He might think of the nature of the tree as a 
mysterious entity somehow "in" the tree — an entity 
which is ghostly, semi -real. He might call it "spiritual". 




In this case he would be parodying Aristotelianism 
or Platonism. 

Or he might call the nature of a tree an 
"abstraction", something "mental", and therefore 
again something less than real. Here he would be 
influenced by a popular Nominalism. 

On the other hand, he might be impressed by 
an argument that if the tree is real, its intrinsio 
constitution, its beingness, must likewise be real. 

It would surely be very difficult for him to 
think of "nature" in the present sense as fully real 
unless he explicitly expanded his criterion of reality, 
which is, at least on the fully-conscious level, "observ- 
able by sense". He would have to adopt, in some fashion, 
the notion of "observable by intellect". He would, that 
is, almost have to beoome, in a rudimentary way, a 
philosopher — and not a sensist philosopher. 

It is at any rate possible for a modern man, 
no longer perhaps the "ordinary" man, to hold that the 
intrinsic constitution, the beingness, of plants and 
trees, is real. And in this he would agree with Plo- 
tinus, for whom the nature of which he be g In s to speak, 
since it is just this intrinsic constitution or beingness, 
is also real. 

A modern man might come this far with Plotinus, 


but probably would still not accept the letter's 
philosophic treatment of the real intrlnslo consti- 
tution of plants and trees, in which Plotinus asserts 
that nature is an aot-of-contemplation. Even the 
modern reader of Plotinus who is prepared to grant 
that nature is real would still, in all probability, 
regard contemplation as "mental" or "ideal", that is, 
as unreal, or at least relatively unreal. 

At this point a modern man might quite possi- 
bly read back his own conception of Plotinus' philos- 
ophy of nature into Plotinus' original appreciation 
of nature, and conclude that Plotinus • "nature" is, 
in modern terras, unreal or less-than-real. Actually, 
Plotinus is stating what is of necessity a paradox for 
the modern mentality now envisaged, because he holds 
simultaneously that nature is real and that it is an 
act -of -contemplation. 

The paradox can, perhaps, be resolved. When 
the modern man objects that contemplation i3 at any 
rate less real than things or the natures of things, 
he probably has in mind a phllosophio persuasion that 
human thought is less real than material things. 

Now the contemplation whioh, for Plotinu3, is 
nature (a ) is not thought (b ) is not human (c ) is for 
him more real than material things. Let us examine 


these points one-by-one. 

First of all, any contemplation is, for 
Plotinus as for Aristotle, knowledge. He does not 
view it as consideration, or mulling over. For 
this reason it is a mistake to take Plotinus' "con- 
templation" to be "thought" if by "thought" we mean a 
mental process or aot which is not in firm possession 
of its object. The contemplation which is nature is 
an obscure knowledge, indefinite in the sense of being 
not fully aware, perhaps not aware at all, but not 
indefinite in the sense of not being in possession of 
its object. Nature does not reason, or seek knowledge; 
nature has knowledge, it is_ a knowledge. 

Nature is not an act of human cognition. The 

properly human cognitive act is, for Plotinus, discur- 

sive reasoning, what he calls logisraos or dianoia. 

In discursive reasoning, the object is not yet pos- 
sessed, it is being sought. Thus discursive reasoning 
is not yet knowledge. Since Plotinus holds that nature 
is always in firm, though obsoure, possession of its 
object-of -knowledge, he oannot mean that it is an act 
of properly human cognition. 

For the same reason it cannot very well be a 
figment of, or a projection of, human discursive 


Similarly it cannot be an aot of, or a figment 
of, or a projection of, sensation. For Plotinus, as 
for almost any philosopher, us well as for the ordinary 
man, sensation is not from the outset in possession of 
its object. Sensation, like discursive reasoning, 
involves a seeking and a reception. 

Plotinus, rather, thinks of nature as being, 
in itsel- in its own way, an obscure act of knowing. 
Its relation to sensation and to discursive reasoning 
seems to be that it can be an object for these human 
cognitive functions. 

Our third point, which we now propose to discuss, 
is that Plotinus takes the contemplation which for him 
is nature to bo real, more real than material things. 
A word of caution is needed at the outset: the above 
expression is not intended to mean that, for Plotinus, 
material things are less than real, but rather that 
whatever makes them real is possessed in a higher 
fashion by contemplative nature. 

Vhat do we mean by "real" in the present con- 
nection? Something like this: the ordinary man's 
"reality", but extended. The same "quality" which the 
ordinary ran finds in material things, present in some- 
thing which he would regard as gho3tly, ephemeral, 
epiphenouenal. We might say that Plotinus' psyciiol- 





ogical reaction to contemplation is similar to the 
ordinary man's reaction to something solid, some- 
thing "substantial" in the popular sense. Contem- 
plation is for Plotinus at least what the ordinary 
man would call a "thing". 

Contemplation is, as we have seen, knowledge, 
and therefore the reality of contemplation is the 
reality of knowledge. 

The point, then, is that Plotinus took know- 
ledge to be real, more real than "things". How is 
the modern reader likely to understand this? Perhaps 
that Plotinus was introverted, lost in his own thoughts, 
which in time he believed more "substantial" than the 
real world around him. 

Plotinus, it is true, was an intellectual's 
intellectual, very much aware of the value and "solid- 
ity" of knowledge. Even in an ordinary sense, he never 
regarded it as ghostly or ephemeral. But the knowledge 
which for him is more real than sensible, material 
things is not properly human knowledge, and it is not, 
primarily, the knowledge which is contemplative-nature. 

The knowledge which, for Plotinus, is properly 
and primarily real is a knowledge superior to human 
oognitive processes and to the knowledge which he says 
is nature. For him, there is a world of true being, 

"above" (to speak metaphorically ) the sensible, 
material world which is the world of imitation being; 
that is to say, to use the word "real" in the expanded 
popular sense whioh we have been developing, there is 
a more-real world "above" this real world. Now the 
more -real world, the world of true being, is_ identioal 
with true knowledge. True knowledge, the knowledge 
which is most reul, is the knowledge possessed by the 
Nous, often called the "divine intellect". It is the 
knowledge which is_ true being. 

Let us, as Plotinus himself does, give a crude 
description of the world of true being, which oan be 

refined subsequently* The world of true being appears 

to duplicate the sensible world. There are trees, 

plants, earth, etc. in the world of true being. There 
are, however, these differences between the world of 
true being and the material, sensible world: everything 
In the world of true being Is eternal and immutable, 
and everything is identical with knowledge of itself. 
For example, the tree in the world of true being is 
identical with the knowledge of tree. 

The modern reader is most likely to ask at 
this point why there must be a true-being tree, why 
there must be a more real tree? Is Plotinus de- 
spairing of explaining the real world, and taking 

refuge in a heaven of ideas? 

But, supposing for a time that there is a 
tree in a world of true being, why must It be 
identical with knowledge of tree? 

Plotinus' answer to this question would com- 
prise the following two points : (a ) the tree in the 
world of true being is_ tree, that is to say, it is 
self -identical. It is true being, true tree because 
it is self-identical. And (b ) for Plotinus, identity 
with knowledge i3 necessary for self-identity, or, 
niore properly, self-identity is, exactly, knowledge of 
self. Let us disousa both arguments. 

The "beingly" tree is self- identical. This 
position will be comprehensible to the modern reader, 
but will seem tautological. A thing is_ when it is 
itself. "Of course " one might say, "but is not the 
sensible tree also itself? When is a thing ever not 

There would seem to be cases in which, even 
for the ordinary man, a thing is not itself. A tree 
In a dream, or a tree in a mirror, is not a tree. 

Plotinus uses precisely these instances to 
illustrate his meaning. For him, the sensible tree is 
like a tree in a dream or a tree in a mirror — not, 
however, in the sense of being unreal, but in the sense 



of not being identical with tree. 

This Is why Plotinus 3ays that the nature in 
a sensible tree Is like a dreara. It Is like a dream, 
but it Is not one of our dreams. It is a reality which 
is like a dream when compared to some thing which Is 
more real. Similarly the nature or form of the sensible 
tree is like a reflection In a mirror. Not that it is 
a reflection in a mirror, but that it Is a reality 
which, as compared to a "higher" reality, is like a 
mirror reflection thereof. 

Still, why is the sensible tree not tree-itself? 
Principally beoause (and this brings us to the second 
part of the argument delineated above ) an entity such 
as a tree Is properly itself only when it is identical 
with knowledge of Itself. 

Plotinus* position can be stated fairly easily 
in modern terms. A thing is itself when it has a grasp 
of itself, when it has possession of itself, when it is 
interior to itself, when it is transparent to itself. 
These conditions are realized in self-knowledge. 

The same result can be reached by starting 
with cognition rather than with things. Plotinus Is 
perfectly aware that ordinary human cognition is not 
Identical with its object. But what is cognition trying 
to accomplish? For Plotinus, it is seeking full posses- 


sion of its object, that is, it is trying to be_ its 
object. The oognition which I_s_ its object is the 
only cognition which is, properly speaking, knowledge. 

The object, on the other hand, if it is to be 
"being", oust be knowledge. 

Therefore, Plotinus sees in the ordinary 
dualism of cognition and object an urge toward, and 
a reflection of, knowledge -being or being-knowledge. 

Further, Plotinus knows that knowledge tends 
to unity, that the parts of knowledge are in communi- 
cation, Interconnection. Conversely, he knows that 
the sensible world itself tends to unity, that its 
parts are interconnected and harmonized. 

The knowledge -being, then, which is "above" 
both ordinary cognition and the sensible universe, is 
a perfect intercommunication. It is both all knowl- 
edges and all beings and also Knowledge and Being. 
Knowledge -Being is the Nous. The ordinary translation 
"Intellect" is perhaps remote for the modern reader; 
we could remain close to the etymology in rendering It 
the "Knower". 

But someone might argue: "Granted that the urge 
of being Is towards self -identity through self-knowledge, 
and that the urge of knowledge is towards identification 
with being, what proof do we have that these identities, 

] 69 

which are really one Identity, are actually achieved? 
How do we know that there is a world of true being? 
How do we know that there is a Knower which is this 
world of true being?" 

On this subject Plotinus often speaks with 
the sureness of experience. The "Knower" is not 
exaotly human intellect, because intellect, for Plo- 
tinus, is never, technically speaking, human, but 
rather, more than human. Yet it is the intellect 

which a man has or is when he is at the level of 

intellectual knowledge. Now Plotinus sometimes 

speaks as though he himself had attained this level, 


as though he had been the Knower. 

But is not the Knower, the Nous, divine in- 
tellect? When Plotinus describes the world of true 
being as though he existed in that world, is he not 
indulging in "mysticism"? Can we follow him at all 
in the experience of being the Knower? 

At this point, we may wonder about the desig- 
nation of the Nous as "divine intellect". Plotinus 
surely calls it divine, but Greek philosophers (and 
poets) used "divine" in a very extensive sense. When 
a Christian, or someone influenced by Christianity, 
hears the phrase "divine intellect" he spontaneously 
supposes that it means the intelleot of God, the 


Intelleot in God. 

Plotinus 1 god i3 the One. The Nous, the 
Knower, is not the intellect in the One; there is, 
at least technically, no intellect in the One. The 
Nous is definitely below the One; it is oaused by 
the One. An intellect caused by the One and below 
the One is not, in the modern Christianized vocabulary, 
a divine intelleot. 

Granted that the Knower is not divine intellect 
as we would understand it, and granted that Plotinus at 
times is_ the Knower, still the Knower is not easily 
accessible to man, even to a philosopher. Often it is 
more a case of describing the Nous as it were from the 
outside. Plotinus sees that sensible things do not 
aohieve identity with knowledge; he sees that ordinary 
human cognition does not achieve identity with its 
object. He seems to argue from the tendency of things 
to self-identity, and the tendency of cognition to 
identity with its object, to a Knower which is Being . 

What, in sum, is the Knower? A man of today 
would be inclined to call it the "ideal of intellectual 
knowledge", taking ideal in the popular sense of some- 
thing towards whioh one is striving but whioh is, at 
present, unreal. This is not at all the way the Knower 
looks to Plotinus. For him, the Knower is, it exists, 




It is living, it Is eternal, it is more real than the 
efforts made to reaoh it. Further, it is not what 
intellectual knowledge seeks to become, or to be like: 
there is no intellectual knowledge which is not the 
Knower's knowledge, or, to put it another way, cognition 
is not knowledge unless it is the Knower's knowledge. 
Perhaps to the extent that his cognition is knowledge a 
man is the Knower. 

We have described the Knower or Nous at length 
because the knowledge, the contemplation which for Plo- 
tinus is more real than things is, properly, the knowl- 
edge possessed by the Nous. We have seen that this 
contemplation is identified with being, that is, with 
the more-real, and, in fact, with the beingness even of 
such things as trees. 

In the Nous, in the world of true being, the 
beingness of tree is a fully self-conscious contemplation. 
Nature is a declination from true being and from fully 
self-conscious contemplation. Yet in nature the identity 
of "being" and "knowing" is still relatively preserved, 
although the "being" is Imitation being, the knowledge 
is as in a dream or a sleep, and the identity is relaxed. 

The point we wish to make is that nature, the 
beingness of sensible, material things, is both real in 
the expanded popular sense and yet an act of contemplation 







beoau3e, for Plotinus, the Nous which Is more real 
in this same sense is, just beoause it i3 more real, 
necessarily an act of contemplation. Nature, a 
declination from the Nous, preserves, in a complexly 
diminished fashion, the oharaoter of the Nous as 
knowledge -being. 

Still remaining within the context of a crude 
description, In which the Knower, whioh is true being, 
is a world "above" the sensible world, a context in 
which nature is seen as a declination from the Nous, 
the sensible world can be explained as in some way 
composed of nature and matter. We have seen in a 
preliminary fashion how nature Is real for Plotinus, 
although there is something more real: now, to further 
our understanding of the reality of nature, we will 
see whether matter is real for him. 

Unlike his original notion of nature, which 
is the notion of nature of oommon, unsophisticated 
experience, Plotinus* notion of matter is from the 
outset philosophic. 

The matter of whioh he speaks is not matter 
as modern man spontaneously understands the word. It 
is not the "stuff" of which material things are consti- 
tuted, nor is it matter as "material things" or "mate- 
rial thing". What a modern man considers the material!- 


ty of the sensible universe, Plotinus would call 
simply bulk . Putting Plotinus' taought in language 
which is not his own, matter in his world is something 
other than bulk. It is the com onent in the sensible 
universe whioh makes it not to be tne intelligible 
universe. Plotinu3 looks from the top down. He has 
functioned as Nous, or at least he knows the requirements 
of Nous : he knows that the world of everyday experience 
is not the world of true being, the intelligible universe. 

Why not? Because in the sensible universe the 
world of being is contained in a reoeptacle, or, to 
employ his own metaphor, mirrored in a mirror which is 
not being. This mirror is matter. 

At this point, he might easily be mistaken to 
mean that the sensible universe mirrors, that is^ imitates, 
an "ideal" world. But as we have already seen, his world 
of being is far other than an "ideal" world in the ordi- 
nary modern sense. Furthermore, his doctrine is not that 
the sensible world mirrors the world of being, but that 
matter mirrors the world of being. 

mirror is only a metaphor — a metaphor which will 
help us to understand Plotinu3 ' meaning, but a metaphor 
which must be abandoned ultimately. At the outset, it 
conveys Plotinus' meaning very well. Matter is a mirror, 
a mirror a_3_ a mirror, a mirror solely in its function of 


mirroring. Plotinus' matter is not a physioal 
mirror which reflects other physical things. It is 
pure reflecting-quality, it is a pure reflector. 

Is this pure reflector, as a modern man would 
be tempted to think, an abstraction? Not for Plotinus. 
For him it would be real as opposed to "ideal". Its 
presence is guaranteed by the fact that the sensible 
universe is not the world of being. 

Is Plotinus' matter, as a modern commentator 

might be inclined to suppose, a notion of matter, a 

ooncept of matter? To take it this way would be to 

idealize, and so to falsify, Plotinus. His point is 

not that the world of being is reflected in a ooncept 

of matter, but that it is reflected In matter. 

For Plotinus, the matter whioh reflects being 
is other than being, it is non-being. This does not, 
a3 we have observed in other connections, mean non- 
existent or non-real. Matter is non-being in the 
sense that it is not form, not order, not knowledge. 8 

Matter as a mirror reflects the world of true 
being, the world of Nous. In the simple language which 
Plotinus himself sometimes employs, the world of true 
being contains the veritable tree. The sensible tree 
is a reflection of the veritable tree upon matter, or, 
more accurately, the form, the nature of tree which is 


upon matter is a reflection. 

"The nature of tree which is upon matter is 
a reflection". Doe3 thi3 mean that for Plotinus the 
nature of tree i3 not really present in the trees which 
we, and he as well, experience? Is he making the visible, 
observable world unreal after all? 

W© must recall that the whole comparison of 
matter to a mirror is just that— a comparison. Just as 
pools of water wirror the sensible world, so matter 
mirrors the world of true being. Plotinus can hold 
this without detracting in the least from the reality, 
in the ordinary sense, of matter, or of the sensible 

If we consider the problem along these lines, 
it is necessary only to grant Plotinus 1 perspective, 
that there i3 something more real than the sensible 
world. If this is not granted, then to be sure we 
would have to interpret him as dissolving the palpable, 
bulky world of everyday experience in what would be 
considered spontaneously as the elusive unreality of 
mirror- images and dreams. He is not doing this, how- 
ever, ana one very good sign that he is not doing it 
is that he employs the comparison of the sensible 
vrorld to mirror-images. In doing so, he snows us that 
he recognizes that the sensible world has its own 


imitations. He is not, then, saying that the sensible 
world is an imitation of itself, but that it is an 
imitation of the higher world of true being. 

But we may concede all this, and still wonder 
whether, for Plotinus, the sensible tree is a tree or 
not. If it is not, it would seem that his whole 
elaborate structure oollapses. If the sensible tree, 
or the sensible anything else, is not what the ordinary 
man takes it to be, It will be virtually impossible to 
defend the notion that it Is real for Plotinus in the 
ordinary man's sense. Perhaps we could say that he 
took it originally as real, but then we would have to 
admit that he philosophized its reality away. 

The question, indeed, seems to be pre-judged. 
Has not Plotinus held that a tree is, properly speaking, 
the true-being tree in the world of true being, and that 
the sensible tree, since it is not identical with this, 
is not a tree? 

More precisely, Plotinus' dootrine is that the 
sensible tree is not self - identical. But surely this 
appears paradoxical. The sensible tree is, it would 
seem clear, the sensible tree. This, it would seem, 
cannot be denied no matter how much Plotinus insists 
that self-identity is self-knowledge. The modern 
reader, still harboring doubts about the latter prop- 


ositlon, would probably maintain that the sensible 
tree is self-identical in the ordinary meaning. 

But is it? What is the sensible tree to 
common sense? Not merely a sensible tree, that is, 
a tree as accessible to sense, but a tree as acces- 
sible to any non-falsifying knowing power whatever. 
As a matter of fact, as common sense probably does 
not know, but as most philosophers, whatever their 
philosophies, do, tree is not known precisely by 
sense. Tree, if there is any such, and if it can be 
known, can be known only by another power, which is 
usually called intellect. 

Now Plotinus would agree with the ordinary 
man that the sensible tree is a tree. He would 
interpret this as meaning that the real, physical 
tree which we observe is, as known by intellect, tree. 
This is to say, according to his philosophy, that the 
sensible tree, insofar as it is a tree, is the true- 
being tree, the veritable tree in the world of true 

Thus, for Plotinus, "the sensible tree is the 
sensible tree "could be admitted as a fruitless tautol- 
ogy* Dut as providing any insight into what the sensible 
tree is, it would be untrue. "The sensible tree is tree-- 
this tells what the sensible tree veritably is, yet it 



i3 untrue of the sensible tree precisely as sensible. 
In other words, Plotinus' meaning is that the sensible 
tree as sensible Is non-identical with Its own being. 

But if the sensible tree is, as known by 
intellect, by the power which can know what things are, 
the tree which has true being, this indicates that Plo- 
tinus does not really have two worlds, but only one. 
The world of true being Is not, except metaphorically, 
a world above the everyday world. The world of true 
being 3^ the everyday world, not as experienced by 
sense, opinion, or reasoning, but as known by the 
intellect, the Nous, the Knower, 

Plotinus 1 world of true being, his more real 
world is, therefore, the real world of everyday expe- 
rience when the latter is known by the best knowing 
power. The more real turns out to be in tJ.e real, in 
fact, to be the reality of the real. Being, which 
seemed at one time to be for Plotinus a technical term 
less extensive than reality, seems able now to coincide 
with reality, as common sense would appear to demand. 

But is such a resolution satisfactory? The 
modern reader might object: "This man is telling us 
that the world of everyday experience would, If sub- 
jected to some mysterious knowing power, turn out to 
be not at all the way we tnink it is. Plotinus would 




have us believe that our ordinary observations and 
opinions about the world are untrue, but that to 
some inner eye the world is, what it does not in any 
way appear to be, knowledge". 

It must be admitted that Plotinus does toy 
with the notion that sense-knowledge and opinion are 
false, in the ordinary sense, At times he seems 
willing to grant skeptical arguments challenging their 
validity. 7 I5ut this is not his real point. For the 
actual purposes of his own philosophy, he has nothing 
against sensation or opinion provided that they are 
not mistaken for intellectual knowledge. 

Sensation and opinion, if handled properly, do 
not know, and do not pretend to know, the world as it is, 
but, in the technical sense of "is" what it is not. By 
them, we experience the non-being features of the 
sensible world--not, It should be noted, matter, which 
is known only by intellect, and then by a spurious, an 
indirect knowledge, but rather the features of the 
sensible world that come about from its being a reflec- 
tion of being upon non-being. 

Does this mean that what we experience by our 
senses i3, for Plotinus, not real? By no means. Colors, 
shapes, the hard and the soft, etc., are real, but they 
are not the reality of the things in which they really 



The modern man who cannot follow Plotinus 
here has, quite possibly, philosophized the so-called 
sense-qualities as so many entities. He supposes, then, 
that Plotinus is opposing these sensible entities to 
other entities accessible to intellect, to the deni- 
gration of the former. Plotinus' argument would be 
that the only entity in the sensible thing is the 
intelligible entity. 

Plotinus' point is not simply that the sensible 
universe contains both being and non-being, and that both 
are real. This is true in a loose sense, but more prop- 
erly the being contains the non-being. The sensible non- 
being is real not because it is an entity alongside of 
the being, but because it is contained in the being. 

By focussing our attention upon Plotinus' under- 
standing of matter and of sensation, we have seen not 
only that the sensible universe is real and remains real 
for him, but also the way in which Plotinus' being is 
articulated with the ordinary notion of the real. This 
treatment renders possible a deeper understanding of 
what the nature in the sensible world can be for Plotinus. 

Does Plotinus mean that there is actually a nature 
in the trees and plants of the visible universe, contem- 
plating with a contemplation distinct from the contempla- 


tlon carried on by the Nous? In a way"yes',' and in a 
way" no'.' 

Nature and Nous are both in the sensible 
universe, or more properly, the sensible universe is in 
them. To the extent that the sensible universe is true 
being, it is the Nous; to the extent which it is a re- 
flection of true being, it is nature. Insofar as it is 
Nous, it is a clear knowledge identical with what is 
known; insofar as it is nature it is an unclear knowl- 
edge Imprefectly identified with what is known. 

Nous and nature are obviously not, as Plotinus 
sees them, distinct existents. They are not, to employ 
the ordinary man's expression, separate things. They 
are both together in the same things, and Nou3 is, in 
fact, more these things than nature is. 

On the other hand, they are not only conceptually 
distinct. Nous, that Is to say, being-knowledge, Is not 
Just one way we have of looking at the world, while 
nature is another. The world i_s nature to the extent 
that, while failing to be perfect being, it preserves 
some vestige of perfect being. It ls_ Nous to the extent 
that it is perfect being. These two extents are both 
real, though not equally real. 

Plotinus, therefore, means exactly that trees 
and plants, both as true being and as imitation being, 



that is, both as Nous and as nature, contemplate and 
are contemplations. Further, he has been ftblt 
maintain successfully that nature is both fully real 
anj an act-of-knowing, a contemplation. 

Chapter X 


Plotinus 1 doctrine of nature-aa- contemplation 
ia intended, as we have seen, as an account of pro- 
duction. By contemplating, nature makes the things of 
the visible world. Contemplation is productive. 

We will discuss contemplative-production first 
simply as making ; then we will see how a technical term 
for making, "efficient causality", can be applied to it. 

To today's ordinary man, scarcely anything 
could be more paradoxical than to say that contemplation 
is productive If he thinks of contemplation at all, he 
probably considers it daydreaming. Or perhaps he supposes 
it to be "thinking". If he has heard that it is knowing, 
he probably conceives it as impractical, useless knowl- 
edge: the pointless rculling-over of something already 
known. But of one thing he is, at least at the outset, 
perfectly sure: this interior, this "mental" activity 
cannot make anything. Contemplation cannot, he Is sure, 
produce results In the physical world: Plotinus, who 
thinks that it can, and that nature is a contemplative 




producer, must be, the ordinary man would suppose, like 
tie occultists who believe in mind over matter, perhaps 
like those who say that they can make a plant grow just 
by thinking at It. 

The ordinary man is certain that making is 
accomplished only by the action of one solid material 
thing on another solid material thing. The men on the 
assembly lino make, produce, the automobile. They use 
tools, they exert physical force. Carpenters and 
masons build a house with their hands. Structural 
steel workers build a bridge. 

Suppose an ordinary man were asked "What makes 
a tree"? Quite possibly he would consider this an odd, 
or a meaningless, question, because in the ordinary 
vocabulary "make" tends to be restricted to artificial, 
i.e., to manufactured, things. Or he might answer that 
God makes, or made, the tree. It would quite possibly 
strike him as odd to say that the parent tree or trees 
made the tree. If he were asked what produced It, he 
might answer "the seed", or "nature". 

Equipped basically with these ordinary notions 
of making, notions refined or not by philosophic inter- 
pretations, the modern reader of Plotinus wonders, 
perhaps, whether this philosopher, -far whom making and 
contemplating are apparently one and the same, has any 



genuine feeling for making as it is ordinarily con- 
ceived. Does he appreciate what the carpenter, the 
assembly-line worker, etc. actually do? Is what they 
do real for him, or does he live exclusively in a 
world of dreams or ideas in which thought is spontane- 
ously productive? If the work, of actual physical 
producers ij3 real for him, how can he maintain that 
contemplation is productive? 

Let us, however, take a closer look at the 
ordinary notion of making. It is not only the riveters 
who, In the ordinary language, are said to build a 
bridge. The governmental body that commissions the 
building, the contractors, the engineers — each of 
these groups "build" the bridge. None of them functions 
directly as a material agent bringing physical force to 
bear on a physical thing to be modified. 

An engineer "builds" a bridge, and yet what he 
contributes to It is his knowledge and his thought. 
Similarly, if a man builds something which he himself 
has planned, he translates his own thought into action. 
Thought, In cases such as these, affects material things, 
so that, understood In this way, the action of "mind" 
upon matter is not at all mysterious, but is an every- 
day occurrence. 

But thought does not appear to be immediately 


productive. The engineer must transnit his thought, 
directly or indirectly, to the workmen. They, in turn, 
must use their hands and tools — physical instruments 
to bring about a physical effect. The man who works 
according to his own plans must make a "special resolve" 
to act, and he too must use hands and tools. He cannot 
build a chair by thinking about chairs, not even by 
thinking about building chairs. 

The ordinary man's further judgment would be, 
no doubt, that unless and until thoughts and plans 
are translated into action they are hazy, ephemeral, 
impractical — not real, or at least not as real as the 
physical effects which they may, in time, accomplish. 

Nevertheless, when engineers, architects, 
planners In general, whoso contribution to the effect 
is a contribution of thought and knowledge, are recog- 
nized as builders, we may with justice ask the question, 
"Who are the builders in the highest sense of the term: 
the planners, or the workmen?" Is there not a sense in 
which thought and knowledge are more a cause of a bridge, 
or an automobile, than are the actions of those who 
physically construct the bridge and the automobile? 
Living as he does in an age of scientific accompli shmont, 
a modern man, even a i ordinary modern man, seems to have 
reasons which Plotinus did not have for holding that the 


thinker and the planner are the true makers of things. 

Most modern men, however, would insist on the 
point made above, that thought and knowledge are, 
though in certain circumstances productive of physical 
effects, nevertheless insufficient of themselves to 
accomplish these effects. 

Plotinus would agree almost entirely with 
ordinary opinion in regard to production by an artisan. 
We will recall that for Plotinus the everyday world is 
as real as it is for anyone. The same is true for the 
making and producing that goes on in the everyday world. 
Plotinus is quite aware that men make things. There is 
no suggestion in Plotinus' texts that the physical 
making done by any man is unreal. For him, as for any- 
one, to cite the cases he himself mentions, the painter 

1 p 

paints the picture, the sculptor makes a statue, doll- 
makers make dolls.-' Architects build houses. The more 
stupid children who are, in his words, "reduced to crafts 
and works" surely make things. 

'tfhen Plotinus speaks of, or alludes to, ordinary 
making, which he calls "praxis", he shows that he is as 
aware of its nature and vicissitudes as is any ordinary 
man, or any pragraatist philosopher. Not at all does he 
suppose that it is an easy imposition of "mind" upon 
"matter" or that it is accomplished by "mere thought". 

] 36 

In the case of praxis, as Plotinus describes 
it, the maker's "knowled-e", actually sensation, 
opinion, and discursive reasoning, is derived, through 
learning, from the sensible world. His "knowledge" is 
subject to the requirements of the sensible world. The 
maker is not sure how his productive activity will turn 
out in the material world. He acts on imperfect knowl- 
edge, and his action can suffer from the interference 
of other causes. He must plan; he must readjust his 
plans. His making is "intelligent" in the loose sense 
in which the word is used today, but not in Plotinus' 
technical sense, because his making does not flow from 
true knowledge, such as is possessed by the Nous. 

Such a waiter, a man of praxis, must seek to 
produce; he must "resolve" to produce. He must act in 
the physical universe in a physical way, producing 
sensible things by sensible means. Eta uses hands, he 
uses levers, he uses tools. He is a maker in the most 
obvious sense. 

For Plotinus, however, there is another and 
better way in which knowledge — in this case knowledge 
in the proper sense of the word— can bring about results 
in the sensible world. It is the "automatic"producing 
of sensible things by the contemplations which are Nous 
and nature. He combats vigorously the notion that 


praxis, with the limitations that it implies, is tne 
pattern of all "intelligent" ntkinj . 

Plotinus envisages a type of knowledge which 
flows immediately into action, or better, is immedi- 
ately productive. The Nous simply contemplates, and 
soul and the physical universe are produced. Nature 
simply contemplates, and the tMnga of nature come-to-be. 
Nous and nature, as contemplators, produce the sensible 
world without learning, without seeking, without resolve, 
without hands, tools, or instruments. 

Where is the evidence that there is such a mode 
of intelligent production, so different from the ordi- 
narily-apprehended instances? 

For Plotinus, the primary evidence is in an 
intellect ual understanding of the v/orld. What makes a 
sensible tree a tree to the extent that it is a tree? 
?7hat causes it, as sensible, bo be an i aitation tree? 
What causes it to go through the changes which enable 
it to become, insofar as it can, :nore a tree? He would 
answer: what It beingly is, the true-being tree. Now 
this true-being tree is, as \v& have seen in the last 
chapter, identical with knowledge of tree. In other 
words, When the world is looked at by intellect, it is 
seen that knowledge in the proper sense of the word, 
the knowledge which ifl identical with true being, is 



The sensible things have their reality by 
imitating the true beings. Any actions the sensible 
things perform, any changes they undergo- -and they 
are constantly changing--happen because they are im- 
itating, insofar as they can, the true beings. That 
is to say, all results in the sensible world come 
about because of the true be.'.ngs. When it is accepted 
that the ordering and forming that takes place in the 
sensible world is a reflection of being-knowledge in 
the world of true being, it becomes clear that knowl- 
edge, contemplation, as it exists in the Nous, is a 
more powerful maker, a more real maker, than is the man 
of praxis who produces things in the sensible world. 

Similarly, nature, on its own level, produces 
the things of the sensible world. In this case also the 
production is by a knowing power which is ontically 
prior to the thing produced. Nature, like Nous, does not 
know the sensible world by a knowledge derived from the 
sensible world. It does not produce the sensible world 
by such a knowledge, but by a prior knowledge. Nature 
is more directed towards the sensible (Nous is not 
directed towards the sensible at all), but it still has, 
or is, a knowledge prior to the sensible. Its "weak" 
products, less real than the true beings In the Nous, 


reflect it3 weak type of knowledge. 

When production, especially by the Nous, 
which has clear knowledge, is characterized in the 
fashion above, the Christian reader is likely to 
think of divine knowledge as productive of the world, 
of creative ideas. We must remember, however, that 
the Nous is not divine intellect: It is neither the 
intellect of Plotinus' god, the One, nor is it divine 
in the ordinary, or in the Christian, sense. It is 
simply intellect, simply the Knower. 

Further, production by the Nous does not 
correspond to Christian notions of creation. To name 
one reason for this, it is not free. Neither the Nous 
nor nature are free producers. 

In Plotinus' eyes, to nake them free producers 
would be to degrade them. They would have to decide 
whether or not to produce something which " means' 1 
nothing to them, something the very knowledge of which 
would degrade them--something which they cannot seek or 
choose because if they were capable of search or choice, 
it would not be a fitting object of their search and 
choice. In a word, free production would be, for Plo- 
tinus, an affair of praxis. 

Plotinus' teaching that there are instances of 
knowledge which are immediately productive reflects, 


therefore, his understanding of the Nous and nature as 
contemplations, and his view of the relation of the 
sensible world to these contemplations. 

Are there, however, any analogies in ordinary 
experience, that is, Is there any instance in ordinary 
experience of a knowledge which Is immediately pro- 
ductive? Plotinus gives the example of geometers, who 
draw figures while contemplating. The point seems to 
be that they draw figures without what we have called a 
"special resolve", that the drawing of the figures is 
a "spontaneous" result of their contemplating. The 
geometers, however, still bring about a physical result 
by physical agents, hand and writing Instrument. 

It might be added that there seem more gener- 
ally to be cases in which results in the physical world 
come about by a spontaneous overflow of knowledge. In 
the production, for example of some works of art, while 
physical means are always employed, the "special resolve" 
may apparently be absent--further, the aspects of 
learning, seeking, planning, and correcting may be, if 
not absent, at least attenuated. When a mastery of 
materials and technique has been achieved, the activity 
of the artist seems to be less like the calculation of 
the man of praxis, and more a case of knowledge "flowing 
into" a physical effect. 


In cases like that jf the engineer-, "special 
resolve" is present, but the engineer does not physi- 
cally produce the product. n causality is, as we 
have seen, a causality by thought or knowledge--althou 
his thou.'ht must be transmitted by physical means to those 
who do phys'cally produce the effect. A^ain, the extent 
to which his skill is perfected is the extent to which 
his activity becomes less like the planning and re- 
planning of praxis, and more like production by an 
agent which properly knows . 

In general, then, there are situations commonly, 
or at least philosophically, experienced by modern men 
which approach Plotinus' notion of productive knowledge. 

"But", the modern reader might object, "knowl- 
edge may be productive, but can contemplation be pro- 
ductive? Let us grant that for Plotlnus contemplation 
is a kind of knowledge. Put Is it not speculative knowl- 
edge, that Is, knowledge that is only a looking-at an 
object, productive of nothing?" 

The contemplation of whicl Plotinus speaks is 
not speculative with regard to sensible things. The 
Nous and nature do not look at sensible things. They 
have, or rather are, knowledge — not knowledge of sensible 
things but knowledge of themselves. This is easily seen 
in the case of the Kous, which is at once the Knower 


and the world of true be in--. What the Nous knows are 
the true beings within it, not the sensible things in 
the sensible world. What nature knows, in its radically 
diminished fashion, is the vestiges and imitations of 
true being within it— again not the visible, sensible 

Plotinus would undoubtedly agree that the 
sensible world can be contemplated as an object ad 
nauseam , and no results will take place in the sensible 
world. A "knowledge" consequent upon the sensible world 
cannot of itself produce results in the sensible world — 
such a knowledge is determined by the sensible world and 
does not determine it . To effect results in the sensible 
world based on a viewing of it as object, praxis, which 
involves physical action, is necessary. 

The Nous and nature "contemplate" the sensible 
world not as an object, but in an act of producing. 
This is to say that, by a knowledge which is not a 
viewing of sensible things, but a viewing of what is in 
themselves, by a knowledge which is prior to sensible 
things, they produce the sensible universe. 

Plotinus commonly uses the word "poiesis", or 
its cognates, to designate the making done by the Nous, 
the soul and nature in the manner delineated above. 
The highest instance of poiesis in his world is, it is 


true, what can be called the One's s elf-poiesis , the 
••eond -highest | the One's production of the ,ou3. In 

ese cases, however, poiosis Is above knowledge, or 
rather it is an affair of super-knowledge. The poiesis 
which concerns us here i3 the poiesis which, „>n the level 
of Nous and below this level, Plotinus identifies with 

Let us examine In further detail the contrast 
between poiesis and praxis. The opposition i3 clearly 
not, as it is in Aristotle, one between making and doing, 
between artistic activity and moral activity. Plotinus' 
use of the terms "poiesis" and "praxis" is quite different; 
the distinction he makes between them is based on an 
altogether different consideration. 

Plotinus is talking about results in the 
sensible world. These results can be actions or"makings", 
it makes no difference to him — they are orderings upon, 
for ' b upon, matter. 

These results can come about in two ways. One 
is by knowledge, by prior contemplation of the true real- 
ities. A knower whicu has firm possession by knowledge 
of the true beings is automatically productive. Thus the 
Nous is the veritable maker of the sensible world. But 
in this case, the sensible thing3 fall forth from, or come 
to--tne ctaphor varies--the producer without a movement 

of the producer towards the sensible things. The 
'ou3 does not seek to, plan to, or intend to, produce 
results in the physical world. It does not seek to do 
anything in the physical world. It does not seek to 
produce the sensible qua sensible, qua imitation, qua 
imperfect. The sensible co.ues-to-be because the :,ous 
is what it is. The imitation happens without the 

tatod exerting any effort to make it happen. This 
Is poiesis. 

e may wonder whether a "making" which takes 
place on these terms is making in any recognizable 
sense. Can there be said to be making when the maker 
does not attend at all to the thing-made? Yet Plotinus 
calls it making, and consistently holds that it is a 
type of making superior to ordinary making. 

Results in the sensible world can come about 
also by praxis. Praxis, operating on an inferior level 
is, on that level, everything that poie3is is not. The 
man of praxis proceeds by deliberation, effort, and 
physical instruments. /e see now that what he pre- 
eminently lacks is knowledge, in the full 'lotinian 
sense: he lacks intellectual vision.' 

The urge for praxis is, however, contemplative 
in that it is an obscure tentative tov/ards contempla- 
tion. Plotinus tells us that men engage in praxis in 

order to have something for the .selves, and for others, 
to see with their bodily eyes. Seeing is at least 
analogous to intellectual vision. 

But is this the reason why things are made? 
It would seem not — to many a modern man, at least, 
this reason would be only incidental. Things are made, 
he would say, for use. 

It would appear that in his treatise on con- 
templation, Plotinus takes a bit of a short-cut. He 

knows full well in other contexts that there are usefuul 

arts, but instead of mentioning here the way in which 

use is led back to contemplation, he simply states the 
fact that even things made by useful art are objects of 
contemDlation--objects of contemplation for the senses. 
He cannot, by modern standards, be judged alto- 
gether wrong on this point. It is true that very often 
a maker, a producer, takes pride in seeing the thing-made 
and In showing it to others. The architect, the engine r, 
the dress-maker like to look at their work--and like 
others to look at it. Modern man himself bears witness 

to the contemplative value even of "useful" art. The 
automobile, the suburban "home" — are they made to use, 
or to look at? For both purposes, to be sure: but the 
"speculative" value of these useful things is by no 
means ignored. Both the makers and the owners wish to 




look at these things, and desire others to look at them. 

What relative valuations does Plotinus place 
upon poiesis and upon praxis? Clearly he does not 
despise, except in a relative sense, the physical world, 
or what we have called "results in the physical world". 
The sensible universe is, he says, beautiful, the best 
possible imitation of the more-real world, the world of 
true being. It could even be said, and is at least 
verbally true, that he does not have what Dewey called 
a spectator theory of knowledge. The Nous, the veritable 
Knower, is not a spectator of the physical world, but its 

Yet effects in the physical world which do not 
flow from knowledge in the adequate sense are inferior. 
Praxis is inferior to poiesis. 

This doctrine could receive sympathetic attention 
from a modern reader if it were taken simply to mean that 
the making activity of the Nous is superior to the mak- 
ing activity of men. But we must remember that a man 
can attain to, can be, the Nous or Knower — by becoming, 
it is true, more than human, by ceasing to be, properly, 
a raan--nevertheless, a man can become the Knower, can 
realize his identity with the Knower. 

This consideration enables Plotinus to deval- 
uate praxis even with regard to men. It Is the men 




whose minds are too weak to contemplate who turn to 
praxis. It Is the duller children who are "directed 
to works and arts". 

Is the man who Is able to contemplate, able 
to be the Knower, in a position to oartake In poiesis? 
Can he become the maker of the world? Plotinus actually 
affirms that he can. 

Most modern readers would regard such an iden- 
tification with the maker of the world as illusory. 
An apologist for Plotinu3 might urge that Plotinus has 
said that man can attain this state only by ceasing to 
be man, and further, that once arrived on the level of 
Nous, he would participate in the most puissant produc- 
tion of the best results in the sensible world--even 
though they would not be his concern, any more than they 
are the concern of the Nous. 

It would be unfair to accuse Plotinus of neg- 
lecting "making" in his philosophy: ample provision 
Is made for poiesis; it is highly regarded. But the 
net result of his devaluation of praxis in favor of 
poiesis would seem to most modern readers, at least 
when it is applied to man, to mean a devaluation of 
real making and doing in favor of Illusory making and 
doing. The best men would become contemplators, the 
inferior men would make and act. For this doctrine 


Plotinus has, in fact, been reproached, by modern 
commentators, with a lack of social, political, and 
artistic concern. 

It seems possible, however, that there is a 
place in Plotinus' world for a still recognizably- 
human mode of production which is above praxis. 

He mentions, in the treatise on contemplation, 
a producing which is an accompaniment of contemplation, 

in the case where "someone" "has something better, 

before the thing-produced, to contemplate". This 

could allude to some overflow of contemplation on 

the properly human level, but the expression is 


In his treatise known as "On the Intelligible 

Beauty", Plotinus is somewhat more explicit. He touches 

upon the work of the artist. The artist, he says, does 

not imitate nature, but produces according to the ideas, 

that is, according to the knowledge-being in the Nous, 

which nature also imitates. Because of this, he is 

able to do better than nature. 

It Is regrettable that Plotinus only touches 

upon these notions and does not develop them at greater 


length. Is the artist's activity poiesis or praxis? 

Fie does not tell us in this passage. It would appear 
to fall precisely into neither category. It seems to 


be a work overflowing from contemplation. The artist 
presumably has "something better, prior to the thing- 
produced, to contemplate". Plotinus mentions that the 
art in the artist is more perfect than in the work-of- 
art; this would correspond to production by the Nous. 
Yet he does use hands and instruments; he probably 
seeks to produce and resolves to produce. 

The notion of the artist's activity alluded to 
in this passage would come close to some modern notions 
of art, even of technology: the necessarily- imperfect 
realization in the physical world, by means of physical 
effort and instruments, of a "creative idea". 

Here we do not see the relative folly of praxis. 
The artist is not a man, too weak of intellect to contem- 
plate, who tries to produce something to be seen. He is 
a genuine intermediary between the Nous and the sensible 
world, producing results in the sensible world which he 
seeks, and of which he is conscious, but which reflect 
his knowledge instead of being remote efforts in the 
direction of knowledge. 

Thus far, in the case of praxis, in the case of 
poiesis, and in the case of artistic activity, there 
appears to be genuine making in Plotinus' world. 

But, after all, are Plotinus' higher makers, 
the poietic agents such as nature and the Nous, makers 

in anything like the ordinary sense of the word? 

According to tine ordinary notion of making, 
it would seem that the maker and the thing-made must 
be separate things. The carpenter, one thing, makes 
the chair, another thing. The engineer builds the 
bridge. Further, the maker "does something" to the 
thing produced. And this "doing something" Is ub aally 
supposed to require an expenditure of energy. 

It appears at first glance that the Nous and 
nature fail to qualify as makers on both of these counts. 
But let us discuss each of them in more detail. 

It is true that the Nous and the sensible world 
are not, simply speaking, separate things. We have seen 
in the last chapter that the sensible world, to the 
extent that it Is true being, is the Nous. The sensible 
world is in the Nous. For the Nous to make the sensible 
world is not, then, a case of one thing acting upon 

Thus far it would seem that the Nous is the 
formal cause of the sensible world. This means that 
the Nous makes the sensible world to be what it is: 
the true beings, which are In the Nous, are the being of 
sensible things to the extent that they are true beings. 
The sensible tree Is a tree, so far as it is a tree, 
because it is the intelligible tree. 


Yet the sensible world, as we will recall, 
is real — as real for Plotinus as for anyone. It is 
not the true-being world; it is an imitation world. 
To the extent that it falls short of true being, it is 
oth9r than, distinct from, the Nous, the world of true 

Is the sensible world caused by the Nous to the 
extent to which it falls short of the Nous? As it falls 
short of the Nous, it is a reflection of the Nous upon 
matter. Does the Nous make matter? Does the Nous make 
the reflection upon matter? 

The closest Plotinus comes to saying that the 
Nous causes matter is the suggestion, made indirectly 
in one passage, that the Nous is orior to matter; and 
the statement, made elsewhere, that matter is the last 
of forms--all form is either in, or dependent upon, the 
Nous. It would seem that Plotinus regards matter as a 
product of the Nous in that it is the end result of the 
devolution from the Nous. In one place he refers to 
matter as "a titter deposit left by the things which 
precede it. "^7 

Is the sensible world truly a product of the 
Noua? As imitation being, as a reflection upon matter, 
the sensible world is, if not separate from, at least 
distinct from, the Nous. It would seem provisionally 


to meet the requirement , now modified, that the maker 
be other than the thing made. 

But does the Hous make the imitation being? 
First, does it do anything to the imitation being? 
The imitation being is like a reflection in a mirror. 
Suppose a man, a visible, physical man, i3 reflected 
in a common physical mirror. Does the man himself do 
anything to the man in the mirror? Today, we might 
base ourselves upon some scientific theory of reflec- 
tion and answer, "Yes". Sut suppose we look at the 
phenomenon with eyes unsophisticated by modern science. 
It then seems that the man himself, the physical man, 
is just there. If a mirror is within range, it reflects 
the man without any action on the man's part. The man, 
simply by being what he is, is the cause of the appear- 
ance of his reflection in the mirror--and yet he does 
not seem to act upon either the mirror or the reflection. 

The reflection Is "real 11 because of the man. No 
man--no reflection of a man. No thing whatever— no re- 
flection at all. But the man is not expending himself, 
or his "creativity", or his ideas, upon the reflection. 

For Plotinus, the case a step higher is parallel 
to this. The true beings do not expend themselves, their 
"creativity", their knowledge, upon the sensible things 
which are their reflections. But the sensible things 




are real because of the true beings. No true beings — 
no sensible things. 

If now, still pursuing the mirror analogy, we 
ask if the true beings make the sensibles, ve see that 
it is like asking if the man makes his reflection in 
a mirror. It is difficult to say whether ordinary 
speech would use "make" in this sense. Perhaps if a 
modern man were asked what makes a reflect! n, say a 
reflection of a horse, in a mirror, he would not say 
"the horse", but would again enter into some scientific 
explanation of reflection. Yet we sti'.ll speak, in a 

less sophisticated fashion, of a hand, for example, 

making a shadow on a wall. And if, instead of 

asking someone "What makes the reflection of a horse 
in a mirror", we were to point to an actual reflec- 
tion and say, "What is making that reflection?", he 
mi^ht well answer, "A horse". 

Let us suppose, then, that our ordinary speech 
and ordinary notions can sustain the conception that 
the thing-reflected makes the reflection in a mirror. 
Fven if we were willing to grant that this is a case 
of actual making, what would our modern reaction be 
when Plotinus apparently tells us that this typifies a 
more potent .making than does the activity of the sculptor 
in making the statue? 



Casting a shadow, making a reflection in a 
mirror—the making seems too effortless, the product 
too ephemeral. Here the ordinary notion that making 
requires effort makes its appearance. There is, in 
fact, a tendency in the modern mind to equate the 
efficiency of making with effort: the greater the 
effort, the more truly effective is the making. 

It can be shown, however, that not even the 
ordinary man actually holds such an equation. As we 
have seen above, the engineer, the architect, etc., 
are recognized as makers, but they do not exert physi- 
cal effort. It might popularly be thought that the 
"best" engineer is the one who uses the most "mental" 
effort, but probably it would be seen after explanation 
that Intelligence, training and experience might enable 
one engineer, employing less effort, to be "better" as 
an engineer than another who uses more effort. As 
regards physical effort, it is quite generally under- 
stood that a craftsman, for example, with a superior 
technique produces better works with less effort. 

Nonetheless, what can be powerful about a 
making upon which no effort is expended? There Is this 
point, that in the case of the image in the mirror, at 
least, the material, if it can be called a material, is 
perfectly pliable. It is non-resistant to the imposl- 



tion of the form. It makes no demands for Itself. 
The Image is the best possible image. The proof of 
this is that it can be mistaken for the original more 
easily than any other image. 

Further, the reflection in a mirror Is not a 
reality on the same level with the reflected. Take 
a man and a statue of a man. Both are solid, both 
"material" in the popular sense. But a man and his 
reflection in a mirror? No. The reflection is, in 
the popular language, "insubstantial". 

The reflection is thus more fully controlled 
by, and more properly inferior to (ontically beneath) 
the reflected than is the statue with reference to the 
sculptor. It is more properly dependent, thus, if we 
dare say it, it is more caused . 

Now it is not that Plotinus supposes that re- 
flections and shadows are the better products of the 
makers operating in the sensible world. Ke would say, 
as we do, that the man who produces a statue or a bridge 
produces something more real than a shadow or a reflec- 
tion. His argument is, rather, that the latter type of 
production resembles, more closely than the former, the 
production of the sensible universe by the Nous. 

Why? Not because he wishes to detract from 
the reality of the product, but because he wishes to 




insist on the greater reality of the producer. 
Sensible realities, changeable, spatially deployed, 
are altogether less than the Nous. Unless he is to 
represent the Nous after the model of the sensible 
universe, he cannot present the causing of the 
sensible things by the Nous as a causing of something 
relatively on the same level as its cause. 

To resort to the popular language, the Nous 
does not cause something as solid, as substantial, as 
real, as it itself is. This would be to make another 
TTous, or at least a "true being". But, as we have 
seen in the last chapter, the sensible universe truly 
is, in relation to the Nous, epheneral and unsubstan- 
tial-- just as the mirror-image is, in relation to a 
sensible thing, ephemeral and unsubstantial. 

So for Plotinus the making of a reflection in 
a mirror appears to be the most suitable analogy to 
the making of sensible realities by the Nous. The 
maker, the Nous, and the things-made, the sensible 
things, are both real, and the Nous really makes the 
sensibles. Put because the Nous is more real than 
the sensible things it makes, the making is analogous 
to making an image in a mirror* 

Can this real making be considered a case of 
real efficient causality? 

The Aristotelian cause which has come to be 
called the efficient cause is described by the 
Stagirlte himself as: "...that from which is the first 
beginning of change or of rest, as the advisor is a 
cause, and the father a cause of the son, and univer- 
sally the maker of the thing-made, and the changer of 

the thing- changed." 

The examples which Aristotle gives, in several 

places, are, as above, the advisor, the father, and 

20 21 
also, the building art and the medical art, the seed, 

the soul as cause of the body. 

Now, for Aristotle, movement is in the thing- 
moved. The actuality of making is in the thing-made; 
the actuality of house-building i3 in the house which 

is built. Whenever something else comes-to-be from 

something, the ultimate actuality is in the product. 

Such would appear to be the case in all the examples of 

efficient cause that he has furnished. Further, the 

efficient cause is, in hi3 own words, the maker and 

changer (mover). Apparently, then, he has "efficient 

cause" in mind when he describes this actuality-in- 


Aristotle contrasts this situation with those 

cases in which there is no product beyond the "work" 

itself, cases such as seeing and contemplating. Here 


the act is in the see-er, in the contemplator, not in 
anything else. ^ 

These views fit in with Aristotle's notion of 
contemplation as being, in itself, divorced from 
poiesis and praxis. 7/hilo, as we have seen, these words 
have a different meaning for Aristotle than they have 
for Plotinus, together they still cover "the production 
of results in the sensible world". 

The actuality of efficient causality is, then, 
for Aristotle, in the product. Coordinately, a contem- 
plator qua contenplator cannot be an efficient cause. 
For Plotinus, on the contrary, a contemplator is a 
maker. The Nous, Soul, and nature make and generate 
things. This is what he says, and when he says it he 

quite possibly has Aristotle '3 separation of making 

from contemplating specifically in mind. 

The Nous, a contemplative-producer, makes the 
sensible world. Where is the actuality of the making, 
in the Nous, or in the sensible world? 

Plotinus, so far as I can see, does not tell 
us in so many words where the actuality of the making 
is. The Nous is surely self-contained, its own actuali- 
ty is entirely within it; in fact, its own actuality is 
its very being. Put it makes, it produces, precisely 
because it is in-itself and towards itself. Plotinus 


might call the thing-made, either the Soul, or the 
sensible world, the act from the Nous, according to 
his distinction between act-of and act-from. 

His concern is with the absolute superiority, 
the "more reality" of the Nous as a producer, with 
its complete self-possession, with the entire de- 
pendence of its product upon it . 

These things granted, he might even agree 
with Aristotle that the making is in the thing-made, ' 

much as for St. Thomas Aquinas creation is real in the 

created but not in the creator. 

The fact remains that the higher makers, the 
Nous and of course the One, are for Plotinus, more 
than, and therefore different from, the causes envisaged 
by Aristotle when he described what has come to be called 
efficient cause. 

It is, however, significant that Aristotle almost 
never refers to his highest causes, the Separate Entities, 
as makers, and did not, apparently, consider them effi- 
cient causes. ' For Plotinus, on the other hand, the 
highest causes are called consistently makers and 

It would be strange indeed if this were a mere 
matter of terminological divergence. Plotinus seems to 
mean that the Nous makes the Soul and the sensible world, 


not in the sa ;e way a builder makes a house, but In a 
way analogous to this. For Aristotle, the .Separate 
r ntities are final causes, that, is, objects of desire. 
The Nous is an object of desire, but when Plotinus 
speaks of its causing, he does not apeak of its causing 
as an object of desire. It causes by making i itations. 
The conclusion must be that Plotinus has in mind some- 
thing we must call real effioient causality. t Is not, 
to be sure, the efficient causality envisaged by Aristo- 
tle. Yet as the *Jous is a male r, so it is an efficient 
cause. Plotinus has seen an extension of "making" into 
regions where Aristotle did not suppose that it existed. 
And if we are at all av>le to appreciate Plotinus' 
argument that the Nous is more real than the sensible 
world, we will also understand that the Nous is more 
properly an efficient cause than are efficient causes 
in the sensible world, that it is, as he says, the "belngly " 
maker, the Jl°(T>Tvs ovrcVS . 

To what extent can these characterizations of the 
Nous as efficient cause be applied to nature? 

Generally speaking, it is just a matter of water- 
ing-down what has been said about Nous. Nature is a 
"better" efficient cause than is a sensible maker, it 
is "worse" than Nous. Like the Nous, nature Is that for 
which Aristotle makes no provision, a contemplative- 


maker: but it has an obscure contemplation, a less 
ne-'fect porosis, nnd— if Soul rather than the visible 
cosmos be taken to be the primary product of the Nous-- 
a weaker product. 

Are the higher makers, the One, the Nous, the 
soul and nature, efficient causes in the sense of 
beinr; causes of existence? 

The Judaeo-Christian revelation, with its doc- 
trine of creation, invited philosophic consideration 
of existence. For St. Thomas Aquinas* God is subsistent 
existence; He is the efficient cause of all things as 
the primary cause of existence. In general, an efficient 

cause, in St. Thomas 1 la , "suos effoctus ad esse 

conducit"; an efficient cause is a cause of existence. 

Furthermore, today--fron whatever source— this 
notion of efficient causality seems to be in the popular 
consciousness. The parents would quite possibly be said 
to give the ohild existence. The carpenter makes the 
table exist. There would be no automobiles "in existence" 
if it were not for inventors, engineers, production 

At present, too, the Highest Cause is often 
understood to be a cause of existence. If a Christian 
audience be asked "what is the best word to express what 
God causes? Movement? Order?", the answer will undoubtedly 


come, "No. things •" "Put what does he cause about 
thing! T" "Thai* existence." 

It Is true that in the popular Christian 
mentality ^his is often understood Dcistlcally: God 
caused thirds at tho Creation of the World* It remains 
that there is a sent inert for makers generally as causes 
of existence, and for the Maker as primary cause of 

Perhaps nothing showi more clearly that the 
Greeks were "living in another world" than that existence 
a^d causes of existence formed no part of their philo- 
sophic concern. 

The Greeks were quite free to view the sensible 
world as eternal. 'vYhile a Christian world, a world 
which has a beginning, prompts an interoretation as a 
world the primary cause of which is preeminently the 
cause of existence, In an eternal world the problem of 
existence and of a cause of existence are muted. 

But we must not suppose that these philosophers, 
who did not consider existence and who regarded the sen- 
sible world as eternal, took It to be an uncaused world. 
For Plotinus, specifically, the eternality of the sensible 
world does not connote the least shade of independence. 
The eternal sensible world is eternally, and entirely, 
dependent upon the world of true being, the Nous. This 





dependence, It will be recalled, consists In the T.ous' 
being the cause of form and order for the sensible 

Plotinus did not regard the sensible world as 
a world which, existing independently of the Ho us, was 
formed and ordered by the Nous. He did not regard 
existence at all . He was not looking at existence. He 
did not "see" the sensible world as an existing world, 
but as a world of form and order. Consequently the 
causes, the makers, of which he speaks are causes and 
makers of form and order. This is why the very making 
of the sensible universe by the Nous is expressed 

r. 32 

equlvalently by Plotinus as "ordering". 

Need it be said that it is quite in accord with 
the experience of many men and of many philosophers to 
see the world as a world of form, order and orderly 
change? The expression "another world" Is not strictly 
accurate. Plotinus was viewing the world which everyone 
views, he was seeing in It what many see and have seen. 
But for Plotinus existence was a philosophic blank. He 
was experiencing an existing world, the existing world, 
but he was simply not experiencing it qua existing. 

The Nous, and in its own way nature, make the 
sensible world. Do they make it to exist? Hot but the 
answer is not "no" because some other cause makes it 


to exist, or because it is self-existent. The answer is 
"no" because existence is ignored. This is not even 
Plotinus' answer, because the question did not come 
within the scope of his philosophy. 

The ordinary notion of Baking, as we lave seen, 
allows not jnly for the action of a physical agent upon 
a physical thing, but also for- a "thinker" or a "planner" 
as an agent. Plotinus' "praxis" corresponds almost 
entirely with ordlnar. Lng understood in this bi'oader 
sense. It is real makir; . 

Poiesis, the making done by the more real pro- 
ducers, the !Tous, the Soul, and nature, is not merely 
connected with thought but is identical with thought, or 
rather, with knowledge, with contemplation. In the 
doctrine of poiesis, Plotinus hcs extended significantly 
the ordinary notion of making: poiesis is more real 

Poiesis, ac Plotinus sees it, coes not correspond 
exactly to Aristotle's efficient causality. '.or is it 
efficient causality in St. Thomas' sense, because it is 
not causality which gives existence. But U a genuine 
making, which seems analogous to ordinary making and is 
not coincident with either for.-nel or final causality, 
it can be called a real efficient causality. 

Chapter XI 

For Plotinuc, nature, the lower part of tne 
world-soul, produces the vegetative things In the 
physical world by contemplating. 

In our attempt to explain this doctrine, we 
have given first a technical exposition of those parts 
of Plotinus' philosophy which bear on it. In tracing 
nature from the One through Nous and the higher part 
of Soul, we have seen production and contemplation 
from their primary instances in a descending order. 

Soul and nature have been seen to be carriers 
of logos, intellectual! ty-as-diversifyir.g, which, in 
some fashion, they brin^ to bear on matter to constitute 
the visible cosmos. 

This analysis has shown that the sensible world 
Is related to the Nous, the world of true being, but in 
two apparently different ways. On the one hand, Plo- 
tinus presorts intermediaries, nature and the higher 
part of Soul, between the sensible world and the Nous. 
On the other, according to the doctrine wnich has been 
called "the omnipresence of being", he appears to present 
the sensible world as a direct reflection of the Nous. 



What final meaning, then, does the doctrine of 
nature-as- contemplation have in Plotinus' philosophy? 
If there is truly a downward gradation of being, thought 
and poietic strength from Nous to the higher World-Soul 
to nature, the teaching of ^nnead III, 8 satisfactorily 
represents his position. The visible cosmos is nature's 
product-of-conteraplation. If, on the other hand, there 
is a direct presence of the Nous to matter, so that 
matter is "formed" immediately by its contact with true 
being, the visible cosmos is, it would seem, a direct 
product of the Nous, and intermediation by soul and 
nature, the "logizing" of matter through these bearers 
of intellectuality, would not be necessary. The whole 
doctrine of Soul and nature would be beside-the-point, 
and, if not opposed to the doctrine of the omnipresence 
of being, then only a metaphorical expression thereof. 

Plotinus, to be sure, is not at all embarrassed 
by the opposition suggested here. His presentation of 
the omnipresence of being, centered in Ennead VT, Ij. and 5>> 
begins by raising the question of soul 's presence to 
extended body , and once the question of the presence of 
the Intelligible universe (the Nous, true being) to the 
visible cosmos is raised, he moves easily from the one 
theme to the other. This indicates that in his mind the 
two perspectives were not disparate. In presenting the 


visible universe as the direct participation of Nous, 
he has yet not lost si~ht of the notion of the part 
played by Soul. He does not, however, either in these 
treatises or elsewhere, furnish an obvious articulation 
of the two positions. 

The introduction of the ordinary notion of the 
"real" in Chapters IX and X enables us to see this 
technical Plotinian problem In a fresh light. The 
sensible world, we discover, is as real for him as for 
anyone; the nature, the "beingness", of the sensible 
world is also real. In holding that nature is a contem- 
plation, he is not holding that it is something epheme- 
ral, but rather something more real, more "solid" than 
the everyday world. The world of true being, the Nous, 
is, in turn, still more real: more real than both nature 
and the sensible world. It too is a atlon. 

We see that when Plotinus speaks of production, 
he is fully cognizant of the ordinary producing done by 
artisans, and that this ordinary producing is fully real 
for him. When then, he speaks of contemplative producers, 
he understands them to be the more real producers, more 
powerfully productive. 

Both the Nous and nature, looked at in these 
terms, are seen to be real, indeed more-real, makers of 
the real sensible world. They are seen to be genuine 


efficient causes of the real sensible world. 

Our problem then becomes the problem of seeing 
how, if for Plotinus the sensible world has these two 
real producers, it is possible for him to speak as 
though it proceeded directly from only one of them, the 
higher of the two, the Nous. 

As we have seen, Plotinus has only one world. 
What this world is, its being, its entity, is the true- 
beings, which are identical with the veritable Knower, 
the Nous. What-it-is can, of course, be known only by 
the Knower. 

This means, if we may employ the spatial meta- 
phor, that Plotinus 1 world of true being is right here. 
It is not a heaven of ideas. It is the world, the only 
world. Taken in this way, the world is not caused by the 

Nous, except insofar as, within the Nous, Intellect Is 
sometimes said to cause the intelliglbles. It i_s the 

The world of true being has an Imitation, the 
world which presents itself to sense and opinion. The 
imitation is not unreal, but is decisively less real 
than the true being. The only being in the imitation, 
insofar as being is said to be in the imitation, is the 
true being. But more properly, the imitation is in the 
true being; the world of true bein^ contains its own 




The Imitation is produced by the true being in 
a way similar bo that in which an image In a mirror is 
produced by the thing-reflected. 

Therefore the Nous could be called the formal 
cause of the being In the imitation--if there were any 
being in the imitation--and the efficient cause of the 
Imitation as an Imitation. 

The function of intermediaries in this produc- 
tion may be looked at both negatively and positively. 

Negatively, the presence of intermediaries will 
not interfere with the Nous. If there are less-reals 
intervening in some fashion between the Nous and the 
sensible, imitation world, the intermediation can be 
only as real as the intermediaries. The presence of 
interraediaries--the higher Soul and nature-- cannot 
prevent the Nous from being the only veritable entity 
which the world has. Nor can it prevent the Nous from 
being the only true-being cause of any of its imitations 
— of higher Soul, of nature, or of its ultimate imitation, 
the sensible universe. The only contemplative-producer 
of the world which has "true" contemplation, that is, an 
identification of knowledge with veritable being, is the 
Nous. Therefore, even if there are intermediaries 
between the lous and its imitation, the imitation will 


at 111 be caused by the contemplative-producing of the 

The point is s L nply that there is and can be 
nothing below the Nous as real as the Nous. The 
causality of the Nous cannot be transmitted to Soul 
an nature as tbo i ;\ it were a physical causality 
transmitted from one physical cause to another in a 
c' ain of physical causes. The physical causss aro on 
the same l^vel of reality; the Nous is on a superior 
level of reality. 

This point may be illustrated by expanding 
Plotlnus* mirror analogy. Suppose that a horse is 
reflected in a mirror, and the reflection in turn is 
reflected in another, and in another. . . the "what" 
will always be the same; the reflection, so long as it 
preserves any distinctness at all, will be "a horso" , 
an^ it will be made by nothing else, at the level of 
true, as opposed to Imitation, being, than a horse. 

Similarly, the sensible world, by imitating 
nature, imitates nothing but the Nous on the being 
level. If it is made by the contemplative activity of 
nature on nature's own level, it is still made by noth- 
ing but the Nous on the being level. 

Plotinus himself, in what is called the treatise 
w 0n Intelligible Beauty", can say, "It remains, therefore, 



that all tilings are in another; and with nothing in- 
between, by the proxi :ity in being towards another, 
there appears? suddenly a likeness and image of the 
intelligible world, whether from it directly {oLUro- 
Qtv ), or by the ministration of soul — this makes no 
difference in the present argument — or of a particular 
soul." 1 

Kere again Plo'oiiius affirms the doctrine of 
Bnnead III, 6, and of VI, I|. and 3>» By making use of 
the corrections of metaphor offered in those treatises, 
it is easy to Interpret the expressions used here. The 
sensible world, the Image of the intelligible, does not 
appear, strictly speaking, because of the "proximity" 
of the intelligible world, nor even because of the 
"presence'' of the Intelligible world, unless these words 
are emptied of all spatial connotation. Ilor does It 
appear "suddenly", unless this word be taken In an a- 
temporal sense. The Intelligible world Is being, a- 
extended and a-temporal. The sensible world, Imitation 
being, has imitation order and form because, the intel- 
ligible world merely being "there 1 *, the sensible strives 
for being. 

The sensible world appears by the "proximity" of 
the intelligible, whether there is a ministration by soul 
or not. It is now safe to say that Plotinus means here, 


"even though there Is, in fact, a ministration by 

Nature, the lower part of the Soul- of- the- All, 
is the being of the visible cosmos insofar as it is 
the bearer of logos, that is, insofar as it is, however 
remotely, Nous. Thus Plotinus is able to pay little 
regard to the question whether the apoearance of the 
visible cosmos about the Nous is ctt/TdC/cK f r0 m the I'ous 
or not. To the extent that the ministering hypostasis 
or hypostases are being, to the extent that they have a 
share in the contemplative-producing of the visible 
cosmos, they are Nous. Thus the Nous, to the extent 
that it produces through a medium, produces through a 
transparent medium. The "producing" is actually dVTQvzS 
whether there is a medium or not. 

Therefore, to say that the sensible world is 
the direct product of Nous and to say that it is the 
product of Nature's contemplation is to say the same 
thing, because to the extent that Nature's contemplation 
is intellectual and thus productive, it is Nous. 

Positively it can be shown that, granted the 
outlines of Plotinus' view of the world, there must be 
intermediaries between the Nous and the sensible world. 

It must be admitted that, as our insight into 
the nature of Soul, the intermediary par excellence , 

progressively deepens, there seems to be a danger that 
Soul, in tho real order, will be seen to be absorbed 
into Nous on the one hand and the sensible world on the 

We are first told that the Soul, the highest 
part of which is rooted in the intelligible world, 
descends to the sensible as the bearer of logos. This 
descending to the sensible is the producing of the 
sensible. The more soul descends, the less real, the 
less oonte.nplative, the less productive it becomes. 
Nature, the lowest part of Soul, the least productive- 
contemplative, produces the lowest reality, the sensible 

And yet how can Soul, insofar as it is rooted 
in the world of true being, actually descend? It cannot: 
Plotinus says in one place that it "appears to descend". 

The "descent" of the soul is a metaphor; it can 
be balanced by another metaphor: the lower reaches for 
the higher, matter ettempts to seize being and Intelli- 
gibility. Perhaps nature-as-contemplation Is rather 
the result of an effort from below. It is, perhaps, the 
i itation-being and intelligibility which matter has 
seized for itself. 

Yet the notion of matter "trying to seize" being 
is metaphorical. Matter has no power. What appears to 


be present in .-natter is presont because of the pro- 
ductive power of the Mous. 

Therefore, if in truth there is no descent, 
and if there is no effort from below, perhaps Soul is 
merely Nous consi ered-as-related (although Nous 
actually is not related) to the visible cosmos. A 
similar explanation might be applied to the lower "parts" 
of Soul. In this case nature would be Nous considered 
as related to plants, the earth, and the vegetative 
functions in animals. 

If the higher part of Soul is in the intelligible 
world, is it in any way distinct from Nous? Is not "Soul" 
an unnecessary term for something which is really Nous? 
And what of the "lower part "? If it i3 not Nous, it 
would seem to be purely sensible, purely imitation, cut 
off from Nous and being, indistinguishable therefore 
from the sensible world. And thus Soul would disappear 
as an hypostasis. Soul and nature would be only logi- 
cally distinct from Nous, and there would be, in the real 
order, only the Nous and the sensible world. 

Plotinus, however, neither says this nor means 
this. For him, Soul is an hypostasis, a nature, a real- 
ity, really dist'nct from Nous, and thus nature, as the 
lower part of Soul, would be distinct from Nous as a 
distinct hypostasis— or part of a distinct hypostasis. 


The world contains whatever is, to any degree, 
real. Further, there is a rigorous correspondence 
between thought and thing. If the world can be known 
in a certain way, that is because it Is in a certain 
way. If it Is in a certain way, it can be known in that 

Thus there is not only sense and intellect; not 
only the imitation world and the world of true being. 
The world can be known as Nous, as true being. But It 
can be known also as Nous with a mission to form and 
order matter, therefore no longer perfectly as Nous, 
but as Soul--this is to know something real, this to 
know Soul, real Soul. The world can be known as Soul 
no longer capable of producing within itself, but 
capable only of producing upon matter — this again Is to 
know something real, nature. 

In short, the world can be viewed truly as Nous. 
It can be viewed relatively truly as Soul, as nature, as 
sensible. All of these aspects, which Plotinus sees , are 
in the world. 

Plotinus 1 intermediaries are more than logically 
distinct. In all the ways the world can be thought, so 
it is. It can be known as Nous, it is Nous. It can be 
known, by a diminished knowledge, as Soul— It Is Soul. 
It can be known as nature — it is nature. They are not 
distinct existents, or rather, Plotinus 1 philosophy, 


which is not a philosophy of existence, does not view 
them as distinct exist ents. 

What, exactly, is the moaning of distinct 
hypostasis ? The Nous is a distinct hypostasis to the 
extent that it is not the One. Soul is a distinct 
hypostasis to the e7:tent that it is not Nous, not con- 
templation, not being. Mature is a distinct hypostasis, 
or part of a distinct hypostasis, in the same way. 

As the lious is the being of the sensible uni- 
verse " via " Soul; the One is the super-being of Nous. 
The Nous "makes" the sensible universe, it is the veri- 
table maker, in the sense that the sensible universe 
appears, happens, because the Nous, Being, is . In a 
similar fashion the Nous happens because the One super- 
subsists. Plotinuo' treatment of the generation of the 
Nous by the One and Ms treatment of the production of 
the sensible world by the Nous as parallel. The pri- 
mordial sensible world Is matter which "tries to seize 
being" and so becomes an imitation of being. Similarly, 
the primordial Nous is presented as an Intellsctual- 
ii.telligible matter which "turns to the One" in an 
attempt to receive oneness and so stabilizes itself as 
intellect and intelligibility. It goes without saying 
that in both cases there is no temporal sequence in- 
volved. But stripped of metaphor, these notions mean 

22 I 

that the otherness, the non-one, of the Nous, its in- 
telligible matter, is the gauge of its separation from 
the One. But for this, it would be the One, Just as, 
if it were not for matter, the sensible universe would 
be the Nous. 

The Nous, as one, is the One, just as the 
sensible world, as being, is the Nous — but the Nous, as 
a second one, is not the One, and the sensible world, as 
an imitation of the Nous, is not the Nous. 

These considerations permit a final evaluation 
of Plotinus' notion of poiesis. An inferior hypostasis 
is generated without any outflowing motion of the hypos- 
tasis of the generator. Absolutely nothing leaves the 
One to come to the Nous, or the Nous to come to the Soul 
or to the sensible cosmos. There is, further, no exer- 
tion in causal efficacy. That which is generated comes- 
to-hypostasis eternally, or rather a-temporally, in 
relation to the generator. And yet the generated cannot 
be regarded as a distinct existent, because its being, 
or in the case of the Nous, its super-being, is the 

When speaking of the production of the sensible 
world by Soul, Plotinus strives to hold this notion of 
production, and yet to permit some declination towards 
matter. In doing so, he toys with the notion of multi- 


plying hypostases, or parts of hypostases, between the 
higher Soul and matter. 

But ulti nately the declination towards .atter 
is seen to be metaphor. The relaxation of unity, con- 
templation, and poietic strength in the descent from 
the Nous is not so much an actual relaxing, as the 
presence, on different levels, of realities which, 
although still real, and still mirror images of true 
being, are progressively less and less real. 

Since Plotinus sees these inferior realities, 
Soul and nature, present "between" the Nous and the 
sensible cosmos, a presentation of these intermedi- 
aries is necessary to make his view of his world complete. 

It has become clear that Plotinus' philosophy 
benefits from the doctrine of contemplation provided in 
Ennead III, 3. If we did not possess "nnead III, 8, it 
would be possible to reconstruct its doctrines, in 
essence, from indications elsewhere in the Tnneads . 
What would be lacking, however, and what "unnead III, 8 
provides, is precisely contemplation as a synthesizing 
principle. Contemplation, Interpreted to be sure in 
the light of other doctrines and other synthetic notions, 
is seen to coordinate best Plotinus' picture of his world. 
With regard to nature, contemplation is the notion which 
at once connects nature most suitably through Soul with 


Nous, aad unifies the other notions, such as life and 
logos, which are appropriate to a Plotinian descrip- 
tion of nature. In this sense contemplation is the 
ultimata characterization of the nature in vegetative 
things for the world of Plotinus, and Plotinus' philo- 
sophy needs the doctrine of nature as contemplation. 

Notes for Chapter I 

Plotinua wrote comparatively little, and his literary 
activity, beginning when he was about fifty years old, was 
restricted to the last seventeen or eighteen years of his life. 
He lectured* however, for about twenty-eight years at Rome. 
Cf. Porphyry, De^Vita Plotinl . ed. Paul Henry and Hans-Rudolf 
Schwyzer in Plotinl Opera (raris and Brussels, 1951- ) I, 

1-41, Chs. 4-7. Therefore, the single appearance of nature-as- 
contemplation in his written philosophy would be perfectly 
compatible with his having lectured on the subject many times. 


Plotinus, Ennead III, Treatise 8, Chapter 4, lines 

7-8. Future references to Plotinus' Snneads will omit Plotinus' 
name and the designations given above, thus the present refer- 
ence would appear as III, 8, 4, 7-8. Reference for Enneads 
I-V and for Ennead VI, 7, 1-14 is to the edition of Paul 
Henry and Hans-Rudolf Schwyzer, Plotinj Opera (Paris and 
Brussels, 1951- ). For the rest of Ennead VI, reference 
is to the edition of Emile Brehier, Plot in Enne'ades (Paris, 

3 III, 8, 3, 2-3, 18-19. 

4 Cf. Ill, 8, 1, 18-24. 

5 Porphyry, Chs. 4-6. 




Ibid.,Ch. 24. The subject-matter arrangement is 

quite loose. Further, there is reason to suppose that 

Porphyry arbitrarily divided some of the treatises in order 

to obtain the number fifty-four. On this point cf. Brehier's 

"Introduction" to his cited edition of the Snneads, I, xvii. 


Porphyry, Ch. 8, lines 1-4. 


Ibid., ch. 4, lines 16-18. 


Cf. Arthur Hilary Armstrong, The Architecture of the 

Intelligible Universe in the Philosophy of Plotlnus (Cambridge, 

England, 1940), p. 102. 


Cf. Brehier's discussion of Plotinus 1 'backward refer- 
ences' in his "Introduction", pp. xix-xx. Brehier here defends 
the plausibility of Porphyry's chronological order against 
Heinemann's criticisms based on backward references. Thus 
Brehier's point is not precisely ours. He does, however, 
suggest the possibility that in some cases Plotinus may have 
been referring to "un pro jet de traite qu'il n'a pas mis a 


Porphyry, Ch. 6, lines 29-38. 


Dean Inge remarks: "Porphyry seems to think that 

Plotinus was at his best only when Porphyry was with himi 


The whole of the Enneads wag written by a man at the summit 
of his powers; there is no sign anywhere either of immature 
crudeness or of senile decay." Vtilliam Ralph Inge, The 
Philosophy of Plotinus, 3rd ed. (London, 1928), I, 119. 

13 Cf. Porphyry, Ch. 2, lines 9-20, 31-34. 


In calling the One one, the Nous one-many, and the 

Soul one-and-many, Plotinus explicitly connects his three 

hypostases with the three hypotheses of Plato's Parmonldes . 

Cf. V, 1, 8, 23-27. 

15 IV, 4, 13 and 14. 


III, 8, 7, 14-15. 

17 III, 8, 1, 23-24. 


Cf. IV, 4, 27. 


III, 8, 3, 17-20. 


III, 8, 2, 28-29. 


Cf. Ill, 8, 2, 25-30. 


III, 8, 3, 2-3. 


III, 8, 2, 22-23, 


III, 8, 3, 14-15. 





III, 8, 8, 15. 

26 Cf. Ill, d, 8, 30-36. 


"Attributes" and "activities" are used here in a 

popular, rather than in a technically Plotinian, sense. 

28 III, 8, 3, 1-8. 


"... and logos, coming from the Nous to soul, makes 

the Soul intelligent — it does not make 3ome other nature 

between the Nous and the Soul." II, 9, 1, 31-33. 

30 „ r -, 

It JJ.o osj is not pure Nous, nor Nous-it self, nor 

the genus of pure soul, but depending upon soul and as it 

were an Illumination from both. Nous and the soul which is 

conformed to Nous generate this logos ..." 

Ill, 2, 16, 13-17. 

31 IV, 4, 13, 17-20. 


III, 8, 2, 2-3. 

VI, 5, 8, 15-21. 

34 VI, 4, 2, 37-39. 


VI, 4, 2, 17-49. 


. . . 

. - 


Notes for Chapter II 

III, 0, 9, 1-13. It is curious that Inge, in 

reproducing, in fact in translating, this argument (op, 

oit., II, 108-109), should! leave out the major precise . 

Essentially the same argument is found in V, 1, 5, 1-18, 


III, 8, 11, 7-10. The identity of the One and the 

Good is 3tated concisely in II, 9, 1, 5-6: "When we say 
the One, and when we say the Cood, we must understand 
that we are speaking of one and the same nature." 

The formal proofs cited above are the clearest 

indication of the philosophic nature of tbe doctrine of 

the One. It should be added that Plotinus very frequently 

works the doctrine of tbe One into tiie general system of 

his philosophy without formal proofs, (Cf. II, 9, 1; IV, 

8, 5,: V, 2jLj V, \ 1 and 2, etc.) 

Thus, for a philosophic treatrtBnt of his doctrines, 

such as we are pursuing here, the question of the nature 

of Plotinus "experience" of the One may safely be left to 

one side. Porphyry affirms that hi3 master had 3uch an 

experience at least four times during his life ( Oe Vita 

Plotini, Ch. 23, lines 15-18); Plotinus Himself appears 

to hint at it in several places. For exa.nle, he says 

that the soul's "preparation and adornment /"for t .e 







experience of the One J is evident to tbose who have 
prepared themselves" (VI, 7, 34, 11-12); and again, ' 
who has seen knows what I say, that the soul has another 
life, when it is towards the One and approaches to the 
One and participates in it" (VI, 9, 9, 17-49)* In 
general, Plotlnus sometimes describes the experiencing 
of the One in terras that seem to go beyond what could 
be knowi surely philosophically about such an experience 
(vide: V, 3, 17; VI, 7/j), but in whatever way he describes, 
or attempts to desoribe (it is beyond description ) the 
experiencing of the One, he does not prove tl: e One by the 
expex*ience . 

"Moreover, the Nous Is other than the Good; for It 
is conformed to the Cood (Jy^oeio^s ) by knowing it." 
V, 6, 4, 6-7. 

"Hypostasis" is not, for Plotinus himself, a common 

designation of the One. I have been able to find only one 

place (VI, 8, 15, 30) where iie calls the One in so many 

words "the first hypostasis." In VI, 8, 20, 11, he 

apparently alludes to the One as an hypostasis. He speaks 

of the One's " having hypostasis" (V, 6, 3, 11), of the 

"hypostasis of the Good" (VI, 8, 13, 45-44 ), of "Its 

quasi-hypostasis" (VI, 8, 7, 47) (Italics mine). It would 

seem that the designation of the One as an hypostasis in 


-oounts of Plotinus' philosophy Is based 
on the title of V, 1 (which treatise is an eleiaentary 
outline of the doctrine of tlie One, the Nou3 and the 
Soul: "About the three hypostases i are Principles" 

(irepi t£)V Tpi£>v ip/iKcJv UT7o<rroi.<reu>v). La title, 

however, as all the titles of Plotinus ' treatises, is 
not Plotinus' own (Porphyry, Ch. 4, lines 16-18). In 
speaking of the One, the I ous, and the Soul in 
treatise, Plotinus calls theia "these three" (V, 1, 10, 5), 
or "the three natures" (V, 1, 3, 27). 


V, 5, 6, 23-25. In 'I, 9, , 11-12 Plotinus applies 

to the One a formula from the first hypothesis of t. e 
Parmenides : "It can be neither said nor written." ( armen- 
ides 142a). 

7 V, 5, 6, 28-30. 

8 I, B, 2,1-5; VI, 8, 13, 11-13. 

9 III, 8, 11, 8-10; VI, 8, 7, 3-6. 

10 VI, 8, 13, 21-26. 


V, 6, 5, 5-10. 

12 Cf. VI, 7, -1, 27-31: "Thus it Q od] is not 
good for itself, but for the others. Pop they have need 


of it, but it has no need of itself. It would be absurd 
that it should have need of itself, for this would rnean 
that it lacked itself." Cf. VI, 9, 6, 40-42. 


Vide, e. ., the two warnings Plotinus reives in 

VI, 8, 13 (line3 1-4; lines 47-50). Nothing can be said 

of the One that would Imply any duality. Thus many terms 

cannot be U3ed in their rigorous sense; we must understand 

a quasi before tnera. Cf . VI, 8, 18, 52-53. 

1A TTUp 1 oLVTOV VI, 8, 14, 42; if oCUTOU VI, 8, 11, 
33; £<))' ieLUTOV VI, 9, 6, 15. 

15 VI, 8, 14, 42. 

16 ' \ N > * \ n 
TTpOS ^UTOV X^l £S ^UTOV, VI, 8, 17, 26; TTpoS 

oCUTO, V, 3, 10, 51. 


VI, 8, 13, 38-4 . 

The One Is "cause of itself" ( ^itiov toCUTou 
VI, 8, 14, 42; "it made itself-to-subsist" ( AuTOS up*L 
vrV£<TTr\<re\> jvtov ) t VI, 8, 16, 30; "it makes itself" ( JLvro 
JLOT0 TTOlfel ), VI, 8, 7, 53; it "has made Itself" («/utoV 
TKTTOUIKeVoO <*utov), VI, 8, 13, 54-55. The word "constitutes" 
itself has been used to render these phrases and to express 
a "causality" whiah is not precisely either efi'lcient or 



The Good is iKofVoV t*LVTO) , I, 8, 2, 4-5. It 
is IKrfVUJToTrov , VI, 9, 6, 17. 


I, 8, 2, 4-5; VI, 9, 6, 18; ibid.,lines 24-26. 

21 Cf. Ill, 8, 11, 38-44. 

22 eneKewot i'fw. ovtos v, 5, 6, li; ripo vno- 

OTdKTeWS VI, 8, 10, 37. 


In his doctrine of the One-Good, Plotinus makes 

frequent use of Plato's phrase ( Respublica VI, 509 b 9) 

4tt€K£IVo<. ouctoiS ; the Good is beyond entity. Vide: 

V, 1, 8, 8 (where he quotes Plato directly and with approval); 

V, 4, 1, 9-10; VI, 7, 40, 26; VI, 9, II, 42, etc. 

24 I, 7, 1, 19-20; VI, 7, 17, 9-11. 


The 0n3 is 3wns KptlTTOV , V, 3, 16, 38. 

* With regard to the Good, "allow it to-be ( ei'otcre rd 
4Vtiv )", V, 5, 13, 12-13. "If anyone says that the Good 
Is not ( Krj e\r\u\ )» there would be no evil," VI, 7, 23, 
15-16. Cf. V, 3, 10, 48-49; VI, 7, 23, 9-10; VI, 8, 16, 19- 


* ' VI, 7, 38, 1-4; VI, 8, 8, 14-15, 






VI, 8, 11, 33; of. VI, 8, 13, 50-52, where again 

Plotinus says that the One subsists, but has noted immed- 
iately before (ibid., lines 47-50) that he is not speaking 


VI, 8, 10, 35-38; VI, 8, 11, 1-5. 

VI, 8, 20, 13-15. 

31 III, 8, 11, 7-10. 

32 VI, 8, 20, 17-19. 


VI, 8, 8, 9-12, 

34 V, 4, 2, 17-18, 

35 VI, 7, 17, 12-14. 

36 VI, 9, 6, 17-18. 

37 VI, 8, 7, 49-54. 

38 VI, 8, 13. 

39 VI, 8, 9, 44-45, 

40 V, 3, 17, 14. 



** VI, 8, 9. 

"It i3 necessary that [the OneJ be unmoved, if 
there is to be a second after it: it makes the latter to 
subsist ( imocrrnvoti uvto ) without inclining forward, or 
willing or being moved In any way. How, then? And how 
ought we to think of the One which is stable? An 
Illumination from It, from the immobile One, as the light 
which is about the li^ht of the sun— generated from it, 
which remains eternally." V, 1, 6, 25-30. 

43 E.g. I, 7, 1, 24-28; cf. Plato Respublica VI, 508e- 
509a; V, 3, 9, 15-20. 

44 IV, 3, 10, 1-7. 

45 V, 4, 2, 39-40. 

46 V, 5, 12, 39-44. 

47 V, 2, 1, 7-9. 

48 V, 1, 6, 30-39. 

** €V 7W oikuuJ X\Qc\ . v, 4, 2, 22. This Dhrase, 
repeated in line 35, is taken from Plato, Timaeus , 42e, 
where it refers to the Demiurge after the production of the 


visible cosmos. It could also be rendered "remaining in 
its proper custom or character", but there seems to be a 
strong echo of the radical meaning of r^OoS • 

50 V, 4, 2, 37. 

51 Ibid., lines 38-39. 


E.g. body coraes-to soul rather than soul to body, 

VI, 4, 12, 33-41; In so doing body comes-to real being and 
the world of life, Ibid., lines 41-46. The same doctrine is 
expressed in V, 4, 16, 7-13. 

00 If ^Vo*yK<*ictV is to be construed as modifying 
UTrocnV-Tiv — and this seems the only possibility, despite its 
position in the sentence — then Plotinus Is saying that the 
generated hypostasis is necessary and dependent, therefore, 
since this is probably an hendiadys, necessarily dependent. 
Ficino has: "Jam vero res omnes . . . neces^arlam circa se 
foras naturam producunt ab ipsis pendentem . . .;" but 
brehier, apparently taking otVotyKodiocV as a substantive 
and a synecdochicaljaccusative, has, "Tous les etres 
d'ailleurs, . . . produisent necessalrement autour d'eux . . 
une realite qui . . . depend de leur pouvoir actuel ..." 
( Italics mine) . 

54 V, 1, 6, 31. (Quoted above, p. 29 ) 


55 Ibid., line 32. 

56 V, 1, 7, 1, 

57 V, 4, 2, 26-27. 

58 V, 8, 12, 17. 

59 Ibid., line 16. 

60 V, 1, 7, 39. 

61 III, 8, 7, 6-7. 

62 In VI, 4, 10, 1-15, Plotinus contrasts these two 
senses of image, and indicates that for him image means, 
precisely, image as image-in-water: "But If someone says 
that it is not necessary that the image ( 6IK0JV ) be 
connected closely with the archetype — for it happens that 
the image subsists when the archetype, from which the 
image arose, is absent .... First of all, if he is 
speaking of an image issuing from a painter, we do not 
say that the archetype has produced the image, but rather 
that the painter has, and it Is not his Image, even if 
someone were to portray himself. For the picture is not 
either the body of the painter, or the form (which it 
imitates) — we ought to think that it is not the painter, 


but rather somo certain disposition of colors that calces 
such an image. And this is not definitively ( KOpicos ) 
the making of an image ( eiK<£>V ) and an appearance 
( W&ilA./*^ )» such as in water and in mirrors and in shadows. 
In these cases the image takes Its entity truly from what 
is before it and is born from this, and it does not happen 
that the generated exists, when it is cut off from the 
generator. " 

63 IV, 8, 6, 12-14. 

64 V, 5, 12, 44-47. 


V, 3, 12, 27-33. 


This line of argumentation is applied specifically 

to knowledge in III, 8, 11, 12-14: "Therefore do not add 

knowledge to the One, so as not to add another to it, and to 

mako two, the knower and the Good." 

67 V, 3, 12, 49-50; V, 6, 4. 1-2, 

68 Vide infra, nn. 69-72. 

69 V, 6, 6, 22-28, 

70 Cf. V, 3, 11, 26-31, 



E.g. Ill, 8, 11; III, 9, 9; V, 3, 11 and 12; 

VI, 7, 37-41. 

72 VI, 7, 39, 19-20. 

73 VI, 9, 6, 42-42; cf. VI, 7, 37, 23-28. 

74 V, 3, 12, 48-49; VI, 7, 40, 24-29. 

75 V, 3, 10, 40-43; 49-51. 


Plotlnus also designates the pre-knowing contact of 

the One with itself as a "thrust' 1 : "Nothing else is present 

to the One, but there will be a certain simple thrust (CTTifioArj) 

in it towards Itself." VI, 7, 38, 25-26. Further, it is this 

thrust towards itself (ibid., Ch. 39, 1-2) . "Em {jiXAetV can carry 

the meaning "attend to, think on", so that it is possible that 

In this passage Plotinus is speaking already of a quasi-knowl- 

edge in the One. Picino translates GTTl§oXt| "intuitus"; 

Brehier "intuition". If tTTlpO^T) has this meaning, we have an 

indication of cognition by the One in the midst of a long 

development (VI, 7, 37-41) of the argument that the One does 

not know. 

77 VI, 8, 16, 19-21. 

78 VI, 8, 13, 5-10. 


79 VI, 8, 16, 31-36. 

Ibid., line 15. 

81 Cf. Ill, a, 11, 7-25. "The Nous has need of the 
Good j_the Onej , but the Good has no need of the Nous" 
lines 14-15). 

82 V, 4, 2, 16-20. "Synesthesia" transliterates 
<ruv,>na"6M<rei • The alternate reading <J"UV oUO~0n(7"ei has 
considerable manuscript authority (Henry, app. crit. ad 

V, 4, 2, 18). £uv«ucr6)r}(rei conveys the notion of self- 
perception, or better, self-contained perception; (TUV 
A<jQr\<re.i would mean merely "with perception". Picino 
double-translates: "atque animadversio sui ipsummet 
exsistit, tanquam cum quodam ^ansu suique consensu", 
which suggests either that he knew of both readings and 
did not wish to choose, or that he had before him a text 
which gave both readings. The latter case suggests that 
a copyist had not been able to choose. 

83 " Intellectual" : The word is used here to translate 
V0€p<£s , and is intended in general to have a neutral 
significance, i.e., to mean "pertaining to knowledge". 

Inge (II, 114) apoears to agree that Plotinus' 
One is not without qualification unknowing. He states: 


"It [the One] has a 'true vo^cri* '), different from that 
of vovs", and cites in a footnote III, 8, 10 and V, 4, 2 
as sources. Neither the phrase nor the doctrine occur in 
III, 8, 10, which treats, in its concluding sentences, not 
of the One's "self-knowledge", but of a "knowledge" of, or 
better, a "thrust" to the One by the individual soul. The 
phrase, without the word "true" does occur in V, 4, 2, 19-20. 
(Vide supra, p. 37 ). 

In further support of this thesis, Inge quotes with- 
out reference that the One "abides In a state of 'wake- 
fulness (e.ypr\yopo"iS ) beyond Being'". The reference should 
be to VI, 8, 16, 34-35 (Vide supra o. 3G ). 

He says also that, for Plotinus, the One "has ' self - 
discernment' ( <StoiKpiTtKOV e^UToG), which implies a sort of 
self -consciousness", and the reference reads: "6, 7, 16 and 
5, 1, 7. He [the One] has OiOV cruVoOCTGrjcnV Tr|S 
o"uv«*/*eoos, 6t» SvvoLTcix oucruiv. He [Plotinus] even 

says Tr\ eTTicrrpo^ rrpos otuTo ecop^, *J Se 
op-*cris oiurrj vous. 

This reference is unfortunate. The expression 
iwxpiTiK.OV eJLVTov does not occur in either of the passages 
cited, but rather in V, 4, 2, 17. OiOV <rv\/U\<T &r\<TiV K.T.A. 
Is found in V, 1, 7, 12-13, where the context clearly shows 
that the possessor of this is not meant to be the One, but 
rather the Nous. Tf\ eThSTpo<$r} K..T.X. is V, 1, 7, 5-6; the 
reference is not to the interior self-knowledge of the One, 


but to the One's genera tin Nous, as is clear ftrc 

t e words irajediately precedin : oCAX ou vous €K£WO. 
ITujs ouv voCv yevvi-, *H ot» -rp tirnrrpo^ k.t.A. 

T e general theme of both V, 1, 7 and VI, , 16 is. 
In fact, the ^deration of the Kous by t e r.e . In e 
appears to have mistaken expressions Plotinu3 uses 
this connection for affirmations of the existence of a 
Nous, or of knowlejge, within the One. 

Pistorius, in support of his thesis that the One has 
M no thought", r.uotes a few familiar passages in which 
Plotinus says that the One has no knowledge, but fails to 
discuss any passage which could be taken to mean that the 
One does have knowledge. He sees that the ohapter to which 
Inge makes reference, VI, 7, 16, is not concerned with the 
One's self -knowl edge, but he ::oes not recognize that the 
phrase oA*KpmKov €<AUToG does not, in point of fact, 

come from this chapter. Philippus Villiers Pistorius, 
Plotinus and Neoplatonism (Cambridge, England, 1952), pp. 10-11. 


V, 3, ?., 21-25. 

Notes for Chapter III 

1 V, 3, 5, 26-29. 

2 V, 9, 8, 1-7; VI, 7, 8, 27-29. 

3 V, 1, 8, 23-27. 

b v, 9, 3, 1-I4-; cf. in, 6, 6, 16-17; v, 3, 5, 26-29, 
* v, 2, 1, 1I4-18. 

6 v, 1, 3, J4--10. 

7 III, 2, 2, 1-2; V, 9, 9, 3-114.. 

This "something of itself" is logos, 

? III, 2, 2, 15-16. 

10 III, 2, 1, 38-I4.5. 

11 VI, 7, 8, 5-12. 

12 Ibid., lines 12-13. 

13 III, 2, 2, 8-15. 

^ Moreover, the ordering is in accordance with Nous 

in this way, as to be without discursive reasoning ( £jg 

^V€U AoyiO/^oo eiVoll ), yet it is such that it is remarkable 




that, if' a man were able to make use of the beat in the 
line of discursive reasoning, reasoning would not find 
how to do otherwise than after the fashion which is 
evident even in individual natures when things take place 
towards the ever more knowable rather than according to 
an ordering by discursive reasoning." Ill, 2, 14, 1-6 
brehier translates oJS ocveu Aoyi<r/*oo 6IW1 
by "sans provenir d'un dessein reflechi." Ficino has 
"absque rationis discursione. " "Reflechi" could be mis- 
leading here. Brehier tries to tie his rendering of 
AoyKT/AOS as a reflection to Timaeus, 34a, where the 
motion of the Demiurge i3 said to be circular because in 
returning upon itself it suits the sort of intelligence 
proper to the Demiurge, i.e., a reflective intelligence. 
Here, however, the term reflection might translate an 
aspect of AoyitfTios , if we take care to mean by it not 
self-knowledge, which the Nous surely has, but deliberation, 
of which the Nous has no need. The "order in accordance 
with Nous" is beyond deliberation or rational construction 
because the Nous is never in a state of indecision, of 
having to say to itself, "Veil, now, lot me reflect and 
see what is best". The ideas are within it and it is in 
immediate possession of them. 

15 V, 9, 9, 8-14. 


III, 2, 1, 1-5: Plotinus here links the auto- 
matic or spontaneous with chance, To; uvTOp<*Tui KeU t u X!7 
This Is traditional, of. Aristotle Physlca. II, 4-6, 
especially the distinction between them In 6, 197a36- 
bl8« The spontaneous or automatic is also non-intelligent 
for Aristocle, and this in the radical, substantial sense. 
Something can happen by chance to an intelligent being that 
could have intended it but did not; but if it happens to a 
being which by nature is non-intelligent, then it is spon- 
taneous. Perhaps Plotinus here, as Aristotle in Physica II, 
4, 196a25, has in mind Democritus who ascribed "this heaven- 
ly sphere and all the worlds to spontaneity". 


III, 2, 1, passing 

1 8 

V, 3, 5,21-25. 

19 Ibid., line 43. 

w ToOJTov to e\VoU KoU to voew ewou, a variant of 
Parmenides fr. 3, To y<*0 crfUTO voew eCTiv T£ Kco eWoCi • 
It is probable that for Parmenides himself this did not mean 
an Identification of being and knowing, but rather that that 
which is and that which is known are one and the same. 

21 III, 8, 8, 1-10. 

22 Ibid., lines 11-26. 


23 VI, 7, 7, 30-31. 

Does Plotinus mean that the truest life Is life 
In knowledge, life throupfo knowledge, or life according 
to knowledge? The expression vor^crex icon, with no prepo- 
sition before Vor|crei , Is indefinite. 


III, 8, 8, 26-30. 

26 Cf. the identification in the Nous of VoeTv , 
iu)H , and TO fcWoU in V, 6, 6, 20-23. In general Plo- 
tinus 1 association of knowing, the truest life, and true 
being In the Nous recalls Plato's Sophlsta ,248e-249a: "And 
by the god, are we to be persuaded easily that, In truth, 
movement and life and soul and wisdom ( ^povqcTlV ) are 
not present with perfect being, that it neither lives nor 
knows . . . ?" 


For a discussion of these two meanings of theorema 

In Plotinus 1 doctrine of contemplation, vide infra, Chapter 
Iv » 87-92 J Chapter VI, pp. 108-112. 

28 , 

Vide supra, p, 43. 


Vide supra, p. 43. 

. ■ 


30 x ,/ 

"Since being (to ov ) is first, it is necessary 

to take being first, then Nous . . . Nous is the second, 

for it is the act of being ( oucriots )". VI, 6, 8, 17-20. 

"For if Nous were known before being, it would be necessary 

to say that the Nous by acting and knowing perfected and 

generated the beings: but since it is necessary to know 

being before the Nous, it is necessary to ^lace the beings 

as lying in the knower ( T(J voouvti ). The actuality and 

the knowledge is In the beings, as the act of fire is upon 

the fire, so that they will have their act, the Nous which 

is one with them." V, 9, 8, 8-15. The doctrine of a 

priority of being to the knower finds expression also In 

VI, 6, 6, 5-10; V, 9, 7, 16-17. 

Two other passages, howaver, appear to compromise the 

doctrine of the priority of being. In VI, 7, 13, 28-29 we 

read that "there would not be beings if the Nous did not 

act." This might be interpreted In the sense above, that 

Nous or knowing is the actuality of being. But in V, 1, 

7, 27-32, Plotinus says, "Of such a race is this Nous: it 

is worthy [to be called] the most pure Nous, being born not 

from any other source than from the first principle. 

Already generated, it generates together with it all beings 

(lk (rrot.VTol / ovTotj), all the beauty of the ideas, all the 

intelligible gods. Full of the beings which it has generated, 

it swallows them up in a way, retaining them in itself and 

preventing them from falling into matter". 




V, 2, 2, 1-4; 27-30. 

i Tor Chapter IV 

The Soul la In it no If one-and-many, that is, its 
multiplicity is not consequent uoon body or axtenali n, 
but orocodos bodies. VI, 4, 4, 36-39. Originally, the 
many souls are many, and are all In act in the one Soul 
(ibid., line 40), but they are "oarticular without being 
particular" (ibid., Ch. 16, line 33) because their act in 
not dir;cted to a particular body. 

2 V, 4, 14, 1-9. 


IV, 3, 5, 1-9 summarizes these doctrines, 

II, 1, 5; IV, 3, 27. 

5 II, 9, 2, 4-LO. 

6 IV, B, 3, 10-1:3. 

' VI, 4, 5, 0-9. 

1 Cf. II, 1, 1. 

9 II, 5, 4, 14; 11, 5, 5, 13; ate. 

10 II, b, 5, 21-2'i, 





. . 

• • 



Of. IV, 3, 9, 15-17. 


III, 3, b, 16-18. 


V, 1, 7, 41-44. 


III, 8, 6, 26. 


111, 2, 2, 18-41 


IV, 6, 3, 5-21. 


VI, 5, 9, 11-12; VI, 4, 14, 1-9; cf. VI, 4, 4, 34-36. 


III, 3, 5, 16-18; cf.Il, 5, 3, 31-33; 111,4,3, 21-28, 


IV, 3, 9, 34-42. 


111, 8, 6, 26. 


V, 1, 3, 7. 


V, 1, 7, 39. 


Ibid., line 43. 


V, 9, 4, 15-19, 



25 VI, 4, 15, 8-10. 

26 V, 2, 1, 16. 

27 Cf. Phaedrus, 24(3-248, 

28 Of. Timaeun, 34a-35bj 41d-42e. 

2y II, 9, 4, 1-9. 

30 There la no doubt that some souls are contaminated 
by their connection with matter; the point is whether any 
need be. hile for Armstrong (o. 90), "there is, I think, 
no pa ■ in the .^nnoads where Soul or souls are said to 

be spoilt or thwarted by v\t] ," Plotinus says, "The nature 
of bodies, to the extent that it purtieioates in matter, is 
evil ... it is an obstacle to the proper activity of 
soul . . ." I, 8, 4, 1-4; and, specifically of the evil 
soul, "Further, if its rational Dart is troublea, it is 
prevented from seeing by the passions and by matter over- 
shadowing; it, and it declines towards matter, and it looks 
wholly not towards boln . ( OUiTtctV ), bat towards becomin , 
of which the principle is the nature of mutter, which is 
so evil that it contaminates ( e/VotTT ifMTK^VoU ) with 

its evil that which is not vet in it, but only looks 


towards it. Not having any Dart of . ood, void of all, 
the extreme deficiency, matter renders like itself 
everything that has the least contact with it." Ibid., 
lines 17-25. 

31 IV, 8, 1, 23-50. 

32 IV, 8, 2, 15-20; cf. ibid., lines 27-33. 

33 l 

<jJ>^ : Ficino, probably having in mind the re- 
currence of uncertainties on this point, translates as 


IV, 7, 2, 19-26. "Traverses the heavens and 

governs the cosmos" is an allusion to Phaedras , 246c, 
but the specific application to "our" soul and the subse- 
quent explanations are entirely Plotinus' . 

IV, 8, 2, 51-54. 

36 IV, 8, 3, 1-6. 

37 Ibid., lines 6-20, 

38 Ibid., lines 21-31, 

39 IV, 8, 4, 5-10. 




Ibid., lines 10-25. 

41 IV, 3, 5, 10-14. 

42 IV, 8, 4, 30-35, 

43 IV, 8, 5, 5-13. 

44 Ibid., lines 16-18. 

45 IV, 8, 5, 24-30. 

46 Ibid., lines 30-33. 

47 Ibid., lines 19-20. 

48 Ibid., lines 27-33. 

49 IV, 3, 6, 2. 

50 IV, 3, 9. 

51 "If body were not, the soul would not proceed, 
since there is no other place in which it is natural for 
the soul to be. If It is to proceed, It will generate a 
place for Itself, and thus a body. Now the soul, with its 
rest confirmed in rest-in-itself, Is like a huge li ht, 





which, shining to its uttermost limits, becomes darkness. 
fbi s^vl seeing this darkness, which it has made subsist, 
•^rms this darkness." IV, 3, 9, 20-26. 

* Z IV, lj., 12, 32. 
53 v 2 

^ V, 2, 1, 10-28. 

55 Cf. IV, 3, 10, 25-27. 

5° cf. iv, 3, 27. 

^ 7 in, 9, 3, ?-l6. 

5" The Identity of the lower soul, the activity of 
which is described in this passage, is not obvious. Plo- 
tinus contrasts It to the Universal Soul {7i TToca-oi yuxn ) f 
and calls it 7* fi^plK^i , the "partial". Brehier ( Notice 
to III, 9, in his edition of the Enneads , III, 170) takes 
this to mean a part of the soul, presumably a part of the 
Soul-of-the-All. But it could mean the individual soul . 

There are difficulties with either rendering. The 
notion of an individual soul producing its own body would 
seem incompatible with IV, 3# 6, 1-8 (the doctrine that 
the Soul of the All produces the world, while individual 


souls only administer it. ) On the other hand, the 
expression "being pleased with its image it goes 
toward it" is clearly reminiscent of Plotinus 1 usual 
doctrine of the fall of the individual soul because of 
an attraction for the body. 

59 II, 3, 17, 13, 

60 IV, 3, 10, 15. 


IV, 4, 10, 27-29. 

62 II, 9, 2, 12-18, 

63 IV, 4, 12, 29-36. 

64 IV, 3, 10, 16-17. 

65 II, 9, 2, 12-18. 

66 IV, 4, 10, 7-12; IV, 4, 12, 5-18, 

67 IV, 4, 10, 12-15. 

68 IV, 4, 11, 14-17. 

69 Ibid., lines 23-27. 

70 IV, 8, 7, 26-32, 

. . 



2 64 

71 cf. iv, 3, 26, £-9j v, $, l, 61-6$. 

72 II, 9, 2, 1^-1$. 

73 iv, 8, 2, 2k.. 

* It has been remarked in Chapter III, in treating 
of contemplating by the Nous, that the higher contem- 
plations are marked by a greater degree of unity between 
the contemplat ion and the contempla tor . Vide supra, pp. 43-44. 
The relative lack of unity in the soul as a contemplation 
will not help in the explanation of how it, as a contem- 
plator, is not united with its contemplation, since it 
would seem that it is dual both as a contemplator and as 
a contemplation, and that the dual contemplator mioht be 
entirely at one with the dual contemplation. 

75 III, 8, $ $ 1-6. 

70 III, 8, 7, 1-3. 

77 / 

11 III, 8, £, 10-12. To AoyiOTlKOV was deleted 

by Kirokhoff, who supplied a new subject for the sentence, 

TO TTpcoTOV , from the end of the immediately preceding 

sentence by altering the position of the period. Ha was 

followed in this by subsequent editors until Henry. The 


deletion of TO AoyicrTiKOV i3 without manuscriot 

Even if the reading TO TiptOTOV WQ re accepted, it 
is in itself ambiguous, while the expressions "love of 
learning" and "seeking" would still suggest strongly 
that the passage deals with the human 30ul. 

Vide Henry, app. crit. ad III, 3, 5; cp. A. i:irch- 
hoff, ed. Plotini Opera (Leipzig, 1856), 30 [kirchhoff 
follows the "chronological" order of the treatises!, 5. 

78 V, 3, 3, 6-9. 

79 Ibid., lines 23-28. 

80 Ibid., lines 31-39. 

81 III, 8, 5, 13-14. 

82 Ibid., lines 16-17. 

83 Therefore, for the doctrine of the World-Soul's 
contemplation, we are dependent on: 

1) The short unequivocal passages from II, 9, 2, 
quoted on p. supra 

2) The doctrine of the World-Soul's kind of know- 
ledge, its "wisdom", contained in IV, 4, 10-12, treated 
on p supra. 


3) The goneral remarks about contemplation 
and the so-called "ladder of contemplation 1 * in III, 8, 

I}.) Parallels that can be drawn between nature's 
contemplation and Soul's contemplation, and hints about 
Soul's contemplation derivable from the treatments of 
the contemplations appropriate to Nous and nature. 

81 + III, 8, 7, I-XI4-. 

8 ^ III, 8, 8, 1-1^.. 


Picino's translation brings this point out: 

n ... his videlicet contemplantibus ipsa facta jam 

contemplamlna, vel sensui, vel cognitioni, vel opinion! 

passim se of ferentia." 

Notes for Chapter V 

"Logos . . . does not constitute . . . another 
nature between Nous and Soul" II, 9, 1, 31-33. This 
quotation, taken from the treatise called "Against the 
Gnostics", wherein Plotinus argues generally against 
the undue multiolication of hypostases, seems to repre- 
sent his usual position, as the present Chapter will 
attempt to demonstrate. It is true that in III, 5, 9, 
20, In the interprstation of a myth, logos is called 
incidentally "an hypostasis after ( juem 'post') the 

Armstrong, who holds that logos is an hypostasis 
(p. 102), does not allude to either of these texts, but 
seems to base himself only on the theory that, in the 
treatises "On Providence", logos takes over the functions 
of the V orld-Soul with regard to the visible cosmos. On 
this latter point, vide infra, n. 31. 


The foregoing paragraph paraphrases the doctrine 

of VI, 4, 11, 15-20. Cf. II, 4, 16, 2, where logo! are 
called ToL Si/ToL Kupfcos. 

3 111, 2, 2, 36. 

4 Ibid., lines 15-18, 



5 V, 1, 6, 44-48. 

6 II, 9, 1, 31-33. 

7 Cf. Ill, 8, 8, 16: "How are £t he various kinds 
of llfej knowledges? Because they are logoi." 

8 III, 5, 9, 30. 

9 Cf. IV, 4, 16, 4-9; III, 2, 17, 74-79, 


III, 2, 16, 45-58. 

11 Cf. Ill, 2, 16, 28-41. 

12 Cf. Ill, 2, 17. 

13 Cf. Ill, 7, 11, 20-23, 

14 VI, 2, 5, 12-15, 

16 IV, 3, 10, 7-13. 

16 Cf . V, 7, 1, 15. 

17 Cf. IV, 3, 10, 7-13. 

18 VI, 7, 7, 8-16; Cf. Ill, 2, 16, 32-41; HI, 2, 
17, 32-39. 







19 V, 7, 1, 7-10. 

20 Cf. Ill, 2, 2, 34-35; VI, 8, 15, 33; 
VI, 8, 17, 17-18. 

21 Cf. Ill, 8, 7, 18-21. 

22 Cf. Ill, 8, 6, 10-11. 

23 Cf. IV, 3, 10, 38-42. 

24 Cf. IV, 7, 2, 22-25. 


Cf. I, 6, 2, 13-24; IV, 3, 10, 38-42. 

26 E.g. V, 3, 8, 2-5; V, 9, 9, 9; 
VI, 7, 5, 5-8. 

27 IV, 7, 2, 22-25. 

28 III, 3, 4, 37-41. 

29 V, 8, 7, 22-23. 

30 III, 2, 2, 9-10. 


Armstrong, in a chapter significantly entitled 

"The Great Logos" explains logos in Plotinus by comment- 
ing on III, 2 and 3. For him, "the Pthese~J treatises are 






a work of Plotinus' last period, and show a remarkable 
development of his thought. Their most striking 
feature is the appearance in them of the doctrine of 
Logos. This is the most extreme modification which 
the doctrine of the three hypostases ever undergoes 
in the Snneads" (p. 102); "The logos in these treatises 
appears to have taken over all the functions of the 
Universal Soul in relation to the sense-world'* (p. 105). 

We have =?een what it means to say that these treatises 
were the work of Plotinus' last period. They were written 
and sent to Porphyry, after the latter had left for Sicily. 
They are within seven years, or less, of numerous treatises 
in which Soul "retains" its "proper" place. 

The doctrine of logos does not suddenly "appear" in the 
treatises "On Providence", it is, as the references for the 
present Chapter indicate, spread much more widely in the 
Enneads . In III, 2, 2; III, 2, 16-18, and III, 3, 1, we 
find a close articulation of logos and Soul. Nowhere does 
Plotinus represent logos as supplanting Soul. It would 
appear that these treatises simply present, in greater 
detail and with a greater wealth of metaphor, a notion 
present throughout Plotinus* writings: that Soul forms 
the world according to reason, that in its world-formation 
It is the vehicle of intellectuality, of logos. 

For Brehier, Plotinus is "manifestement embarrasse" when 




he comes fee MMBfelM the doctrine of lo^os in Til, 
2 ond 3 with the doctrine of the three hypostases. 
Trehior nonetheless arrueS that 3 door, not, in 

these treatises, supplent Soul ( Notice to III, T-3, 
in his edition of the Bnneads, III, 20-21). 

Notes for Chapter VI 

1 III, 6, 6, 33-3^. 

2 III, 6, b, 1^1-43. 

3 VI, 8, 13, 38-^0. 
^ IV, 1]., 27, 11-17. 

5 III, 8, \±, 15-16. 

6 III, 8, 2, 20-23. 

7 III, 8, 2, 19-22. 

8 Cf. V, 8, 3, 1-2. 

9 IV, 1|, 1^, 2-3. 

Cf. V, 9, 6, 15-20. The Important text, however, 


And /nature/ mu3t be a form (efSos) t and not 
composed of matter and form. For what need 
does it have of matter hot or cold? The 
underlying matter which It works-over comes 
to it possessed of these qualities, or rather, 



not having thaw . .Ities £pf itsolfj It 
receives them by being logised. For in 
order that natter Bay be: tr , It la 

not necessary that fire come, but rather 
the logos of /f ire/. hie',, is a not insig- 
nificant indication that ther« are pro- 
ductive logoi In animals and in plants « 
and that nature is a logos which produces 
another logos akin to it, which other 
logpa ;.lves something to the substratum 
while itself remaining immobile. The 
locos-according- to-the-vl3ible-form {^op<f>n ) 
is the last logos, dead, and unable at all 
to produce another, while the logos which 
has life is brother to that which produces 
the form ( \*op<f>7i) t and, having the same 
power as the latter produces [the form] in 
the thing which is engendered (7ro<e? eV T& 
yevopievcj} ). m, 3, 2, 22-34. 
The latter part of this i^as. age, with its 
mention of various logoi, is susceptible of two plausible 
interpretations: (a) Plotlnus might be referring to an 
ordering of logoi down- from Nature. In this case, he 
would s en: to establish four logoi: 


1) "ature. 

2) Thl immovable which gives something 
to the substrate (produces the form). 

3) The living, which produces (acts) in 
the constituted being. 

ll) The inert, which is referred to the 
visible form. 

This interpretation would establish the passage 
as an answer to a question proposed in a possibly earlier 
treatise, "The form which nature gives to the thing which 
it fashions must be considered different from nature 
itself j but we must enquire whether there is still an 
intermediary between this form and nature." IV, [j. (28), 
111., 8-1- 

If our interpretation of the ordering of the 
logoi is correct, Plotinus has introduced (2) as the 
intermediary between nature and the form it gives the 
thing which it fashions, and has distinguished in the 
latter form the living (3) and the inert (1^). 

According to this line of interpretation, Plo- 
tinus would have in mind the producing of the whole vis- 
ible cosmos by nature, through the intermediation of 
of logoi. 



b) Or Plotinus may be talking about the produc- 
tion of one animal or plant by another as an imparting 
of logos. In this case the passage would mean that 
the nature, the irunobile living logos of the generator, 
would produce the living logos of the generated, a logos 
akin to it and having the same power it has. The living 
logos (nature) of the generator would produce the vis- 
ible form of the generator, while the living logos 
(nature) of the generated would produce the visible form 
of the generated. To interpret the passage in this way 
we must supply uopcf>7i\/ as the object of TToiet in the 
last line. 

To read this passage in the light of III, 8, I4., 
where the product of nature's contemplating-producing is 
designated by this same word, to yevo^ei/oV t yet seems 
plainly to mean the visible cosmos ("a product of contem- 
plation splendid and graceful", ibid., lines 21-22), is 
to lend support to interpretation (a) But this interpre- 
tation involves the somewhat forced rendering of the 
]TOi€rL in the last line as "acts' 1 . Further, the mention 
of matter becoming fire by the coming of t. e logos of 
fire suggests a temporal becoming which would be parallel 
to the temporal generation of an individual animal, rather 
than to the atemporal generation of the whole visible cosmos 
by nature. 


For these reasons Interpretation (b) is the 
r;ore probable here. 

IV, k., 13, 19-22. The correct interpretation 
of this passage hinges on the force to be accorded to 

the 71 , v/e have taken the 71 to be weak. It is true 

that Plotinus frequently uses 71 to introduce a cate- 
gorical statement of his own opinion— but this use occurs 
generally after a question. 

12 V, 1, 7, 1+6-^8. 



IV, h, 13, 3-5. 

Inge (1,155-156) says too categorically: "Nature 
is the lowest of the spiritual existences. . .Plotinus con- 
cedes reality or spiritual existence to nature." 

^ III, 8, !|., 15-16. 

16 IV, k, 13, 3-5. 

17 V, 2, 1, 17-28. 

18 I, 1, 3, 15-23. 


iv, k, 13, 3-5. 

-° III, 3, \ $ 5-10; cf. IV, )+, 20, 22-25. 



21 III, 8, 2, 22-3ln cf. in ' , l, 1-5. 

! cf. in, 8, 6, 31-39. 

23 Cf« Til, 8, 2, 30-3)|. 

' V, 9, 6, 22-2l|; cf. Ill, 3, 2, 3-6, 

' III, 8, 2, 5-9. 

' III, 8, Ij., 15-18. 

27 In II, )+, 16, 27, matter is "what Is below being." 

28 III, 3, l\. t 20-22. 

' III, 8, 7, 13-ll|. 

There is another passage which may refer to a 
theorema in nature: " Jontemplatin-- the theorema born in 
It ( Q.UT?} ), nature rests, because it remains in itself 
and with itself and is [Itself] a theorema." Ill, 8, li, 
25-27. It is quite possible here that durr^. means to i_t 
(Inge renders it of i_t ) , in which case there is no dif- 
ficulty, ature rests in repose while contemplating 
(producing) Its theorema, Plotinus' consistent doctrine. 


Or If iri rt is the correct rendering* it would :nean 
"in" once more in the son so that body is within soul, 

31 III, L, 1, 3-5. 

32 V, 3, 3, 16-18. 

33 III, 8, 5, 19-20. 

3 ^ III, 8, 3, 13-16; cf. Ill, 8, !{., 21, 
35 III, 8, 3, 16-17. 

36 Cf. in, 8, 5, 1-6. 


Ibid., lines IO-II4.. 

38 II, 3, 17, 2-$. 

39 IV, l), 13, 2-llf.. 

^° III, 8, 8, lii-16. 

^ III, 8, l^, 22-25. 

12 III, 6, 6, 69-71. 

" "Pie Watur also ist oin schlafeader Gei :t, wie 
Schelling es ausgedruckt hat; sie wirkt uribewusst 


{ty*VT*6~Tws )." Arthur liristian Prows, Plotin and 
der Untergang der Antiken Veltanschauung (Jena, 1907), 
P.IJ4.3. Inge. I, 155» quite possibly echoing Prcws, says, 
"Nature is a 'sleeping spirit 1 (ein schlafender Geist), 
as Schelling says." 

It does not seem certain that oifarTcAcrToos must mean, 
or imply, "unconsciously". It mi ht mean "without the 
specific power, Imagination". 

But did Plotinus say that nature works ijoci/rJ<rTUJS ? 
Prews ' footnote refersnce is to III, 6, I4.. In that place 
we find (lines 18-23): "It is evident that there are two 
imaginations in the soul; the first, which we call opinion, 
and another from this, which is no longer opinion, but a 
sort of obscure opinion regarding the lower, and an un- 
judging imagination. It is like the activity in what is 
called nature, according to which it makes each thing, 
and which, as they say , is without Imagination". (Italics 
mine ) • 

This passage strongly suggests III, 8, 1, 22-23 
" JAnd let us say] how nature, which they say is without 
imagination ( oityxi/TdcrTiKOV ) and without reason, has 
theoria in it and produces what It produces by the theoria 
which it 'does not have', and how it does this." 


It seems plain from both III, 6, 4 and the parallel 
expression in III, 3, 1, that the notion that nature 
functions o(<pd.i/Toi(rrtos is not Plotinu3 ! ov/n, but another, 
pr: ly toic, doctrine to v/hlch he is making allusion. 
Cf. Stolcorum Vetarun i . ;• .enta , ed. H. v. '.rnim (Leipzig, 
1903-1924), II, fr. 1016; III, fr. 386. 

Plotinus is not adopting the notion that naturo is, 
in an unqualified sense, v/ithout imagination. Indeed, 
his meaning seems to bo that nature's theoria can be 
regarded as a v/atered-dovm imagination, Just as it is 
a watered- do v.n noesis. 


Notes for Chapter VII 

1 II, 5, 4, 14; II, 5, 5, 13. 

2 III, 6, 6, 30-32. 

3 V, 8, 7, 22-23. 

4 III, 6, 6, 30-32. 

5 III, 6, 11, 15-18, 36-41; III, 6, 13, 9-11; Cp. 
Timaeua , 50c-d. Cp. Duns Scotus, Commentarla Oxonlenaia 
ad Llbros IV Sententiarum (Quaracchi, 1912-1914) I"0pus 
Oxoniense] , II, 12, 1, 15: Matter is an "entltas absoluta 
in se" ; ibid. II, 12, 2, 3: Matter is an "ens absolutura" . 

6 III, 6, 9, passim; III, 6, 11, 29-31; III, 6, 14, 
29; III, 6, 15, 6-10. 

7 III, 6, 10, 22-28. 

J-J-, b, o>, O — b. 

9 III, 6, 7, 13. 

10 III, 6, 14, 7-10. 

2 1 



Cf. II, 4, 16, 16-21. In paraphrase: matter is 
evil even though it "particioates" In the good, because 
it does not have the good and can never have It. It is 
necessarily evil, 


II, 5, 5, 1-4; cf. II, 5, 4, 4: matter is all beings 

in potency. 


II, 5, 5, 27-36. In view of Plotinus' consistent 

doctrine of the unchangeableness of matter it is impossi- 
ble to accept Inge's statement (I, 127) that "In the sixth 
Ennead he rPlotinus] objects that the Stoic doctrine gives 
the first place to that which is only potential (SvVoCM-ei ), 
whereas the possibility of oassing into activity and actu- 
ality ( Cvepyeiet ) is the only thing that makes matter re- 
spectable. . . . Matter cannot imorove itself; It can only 
pass into activity by the help of what is above and before 
it." Inge's reference is to VI, 1, 26; Plotinus does not 
say there that matter "passes into actuality." 


The foregoing paragraph paraphrases the doctrine of 

III, 6, 14, 1-9. 

II, 5, 5, 21-22. Matter is an ifrGeves ... k«,u 
<<pi>opov do'toAov pop^ oucr0ou yr\ 6uvipevov. 


E.g. II, 4, 8, 23-25; V, 9, 2, 13-14. 



Cf. Plotinus' Interpretation of Timaeus . a2a. In 

III, 6, 12, which expresses his own doctrine on the 
impossibility of a union of matter and form: "Plato 
thinks this j_the foregoing, i.e., that matter is impassi- 
ble J about matter, and that the participation does not 
consist in a form ( eioOS ) becoming, as though in a sub- 
strate, and giving the substrate a form (h*op<|>)?), so that 
one composite should come-to-be, made up of [jthe twoj 
turning-together, and as it were mixing together, and 
suffering from each other. tie wishes to establish that 
this is not his meaning, and to show how matter, while 
remaining impassible, posses3es the forms ( €\6r[ )" . . . 
Ibid., lines 1-6. 


IV, 3, 9, 17. 

19 VI, 7, 3, 10-11, 

20 VI, 7, 28, 7-12. Vide note 22 below, 

21 t / l / 

II, 4, 5, 17: ojptcr^evov y^ev ti yiyv6T«a. 


Matter does not truly "become" on a higher level; 

this would be Inconsistent with Plotinus' whole notion of 
the impassibility of matter: "The being (to eiVoU ) of 
matter is not injured by that which gives it form; it does 



not run a risk, because of the giving of form, of being 
leas evil, because it always remains that which it is." 
Ill, 6, 11, 39-41. 


The basic comparison is made in 111, 6, 7, 22-33: 

"...and the being which matter has in fantasy Is non-being, 

as a fugitive toy: whence those thingn that seem to become 

in it are toys, really phantoms in a phantom, as in a 

mirror, in which a thing appears to be in a different place 

from that in which it is. The mirror seems to be full: it 

possesses nothing, and it seems to possess everything. 

What enters into, and goes out of matter are the imitations 

of beings, and images going in and out of a formless Image. 

Because it is formless the things which are seen in It seem 

to act with regard to It, but they effect nothing: they are 

feeble and weak, they have no solidity. Nor does matter 

have any solidity. They go through matter without dividing 

it, as images go through water, or as if someone were to 

send forms into what has been called the void." 


III, 6, 13, 49-51. 

Ill, 6, 7, 26-27. 

Plotinus calls matter "less passible than a mirror" 
(III, 6, 9, 16-19). He may consider that a mirror is 



affected In some way by the things which are reflected 
in it. In III, 6, 7, 33-43, he may imply that in those 
cases where there is a similarity between the reflected 
and the reflection, a certain power of the reflected thing 
affects the reflecting body. 

27 Cf. Ill, 6, 11, 15-13; 36-41. 

Ill, 6, 7, 24. The expression ei(SojXot ev et<5u)Au) 

could have the weaker meaning "an image in an image" but 
it occurs in the place where Plotinus has just said that 
the being that seems to be in matter is a "fugitive toy". 


"It Is necessary that body is not, and the sub- 
strate of body is not: their to-be is the to-be of things 
which are not." Ill, 6, 6, 30-32. This answers those (the 
Stoics) who would place beings in bodies. Ibid., lines 65 
et seq. 

30 V, 8, 8, 7-23. 

31 II, 9, 4, 22-32: To criticize the sensible world, 
as the Gnostics do, Is to expect it to be the Intelligible 
world — this is foolish, it is only an imitation. "But what 
other image of the intelligible world oould be more beauti- 
ful than this? What other fire, besides the fire in the 
sensible world, is a better image of the intelligible fire? 



Or what other earth than the sensible earth? Is there 
a more perfect sphere, ~vne more venerable, or one more 
regular In Its movement, except the compass of the 
Intelligible cosmos in itself? What other 3an is there, 
better than the visible sun, except the sun of the in- 
telligible world? 

VI, 7, 11, 6-17. 


III, 6, 7, 40-41. 

34 Ibid., lines 33-40. 

35 VI, 4, 2, 48. 


We should recall that, following his other line 

of argument, Plotinus also says that the visible universe 

is in the Soul-of-the-All (V, 5, 9, 27-32). 

37 IV, 3, 20, 43-51, 

33 Cf. VI, 4, 2, 30-34. 

39 VI, 4, 2, 17-22. 

40 Ibid., lines 6-11. 

41 III, 6, 7, 28-31. Cf. Ill, 8, 2, 30-32. 




E.g. St. Thomas Aquinas, 3umma Theolo i;lae 

(Ottawa, 1941-1945), 1, 8, 1, ad 2. 


VI, 4, 2, 37-39. 


He is speaking "mora accurately", he Is no 

longer using the images of radiation and mirroring. For 
this reason the doctrine of the participation of matter 
in the ideas is most difficult. (VI, 5, 8, 1-15). 

45 C P» Tlmaoua , 61a-b. 


VI, 5, 8, 15-22. Clearly, in using the notion of 

contact, Plotinus does not fully escape from sensible 

images--to do so is an Impossibility for any philosopher. 

The word "participation" itself ha^, radically, a sensible 


47 VI, 4, 8, 41-42. 

48 III, 6, 11, 15-41. 


* VI, 4, 12, 41-49. 

60 VI, 4, 2, 17-22. 

51 Cf. ibid., lines 46-49. 

52 VI, 5, 8, 15-21. 




Notes for Chapter VIII 

It appears to have been Jaeger's view that - <ns 
always connotes action: " <j>fcri.s is ono of those abstract 
formations with the suffix - <rt5 '..hich become fairly- 
frequent after the period of the later ooico. It denotes 
quite Plainly the act of (}>GvoU --the process of growth 
and emergence ..." Corner Jaeger, The Theology of the 
Early Groe'.: Phi loop -ihers (Oxford, 194-7 ),p20. "in the 
development of phlloso >hical language it l^uons] certainly 
o more and more to signify the persistent and fundament- .1 
reality out of which ( e\t ou ) everything has grown, but 
the process of growth which Includes the beginning is 
likewise implied in it. The termination - ens leaves no 
doubt about that . . ." . Ibid.,p # 198, n. 5. Italics mine. 

Cf . Liddell and Scott, Greek- .:h Lexicon , 9th 
od. (1940), s.v. §vlo. 

^ For a discussion of the me and limitations of 
'beingness' as a philosophic term, cf. Joseph Owens, The 
Doctrine of Being in the Aristotelian Metaphysics , :■-.. 66-67, 

* The fragments of the pre-Gocratico are cited from 
Herman Dlels, Die Fragmonte der Vor30 iratikcr , cd. 'cither 
Kranz, 9th ed. (Berlin-Gharlottenburg, 1959). Subsequent 
references to this work are to "Diels-Krans" . 



This Interpretation is practically equivalent to 
that of G. S. Kirk, Heraclitus, the Cosmic Fragments 
(Cambridge, England, I95I4., pp. k2-l\3. Kirk cites V. T. Ver- 
denius, Mnemosyne 13, 3rd aeries (I9I4.7), 273, as supporting 
his view. 

Kirk states, in the beginning of his analysis of this 
fragment (p. 22?): "For the ancient authors who quoted it 
no difficulty existed— they took the word to mean what it 
commonly meant in their day, that Is, Nature collectively." 
The statement is unsupported. It is scarcely credible 
that Themis tius, Porphyry, and Phllo would have supposed 
Heraclitus to mean that "Nature collectively" is accus- 
tomed to hide itself. Further, In view of the many mean- 
ings of "physJs" ahich had developed, It Is more than 
doubtful that physis "commonly" meant "Nature collectively" 
"in their day". 

Kirk, pp. 156-161; n.b. Kirk's summary on p. 160. 

7 Ibid., p. l6l. 

8 Ibid., 229-230. 

" John Burnet, Early Greek Philosophy , l|.th ed. (London, 
1930), considered the "flow of meaning" in this case to 
have been in the opposite direction: "Its original meaning 
appears to be the 'stuff 1 of which anything is made, a 
meaning which easily passes Into that of its 'make-up'. 


its general character or constitution" (ibid., pp. 9-10). 
However, as Kirk says (p. 229): Turnet's well-known conten- 
tion that <f>ua"is means 'stuff la all Presocratio us<- s 
is . . . mistaken: as ":ost scholars have now aeon, the 
word tends to imply 'material substance' in these cases 
because most Pre so era tics thought that one could best 
describe the essence or constitution of a thing by 
describing its matter." 

Cf. Joseph Owens, "Our Knowledge of Nature", 
Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Asso - 
ciation , XXIX (1955)* 61+.: "In all three senses [being; birth 
or generation; principle of generation], however, physis in 
early Greek philosophy could refer only to the visible, 
tangible world, the mobile universe. No supersensible 
type of being was known to the Pre-Socratics . . .". 

'Whence they grew 1 would here be equivalent to 
'whence they became'. 'Whence they are', unlikely because 
t(})U is aorist, would mean nothing other than 'whence they 
became' . 

Kirk's treatment of this fragment is unsatisfactory. 
For him (p. 230): "The clearest example of this meaning [nature 
or real constitution of individual thingsj occurs in Par- 
menides fr. 10, ei<rr\ 6 1 ouSepi'ocv re <j>u(nv Td t' £v 
o(.i06pi TTcivrot / crri^oiT^ .., toyd re kukX^tto-; rreutfr] 
irepi<j>o>To< <TeArjvr)S / KcO cj>u(nv. 


In 3plt« of the phrase which follows in relation to 
the sky, kvOtV £<j>i> , the idea evon in '-he second instance 
is p«rhapa of present constitution . . ." It will be noted 
that Kirk Btr 'or 'present constitution' 

in the rendering of ^uttepuv cpucrix/ not Inconsiderably 

by fslling to q-'.ote the immediately following OTTTTO06V 
e-^eysvovro . And if in a truncated version the frag- 

ment exhibits "physis" in the meaning 'present constitu- 
tion', the instance is still no clearer t' others. 

Interpretations of this fragment have been various. 
Aristotle, Metaphysica A , 1]., lOlfJal-1}., cites it as an 
instance of "physis" in the meaning 'the ousia [beingness] 
of physical things', but omits from his quotation of the 
fragment what we have regarded as the key phrase, QjLVtlJOia 
TeAfcUTH . Plutarch, Adv. Col . 1112a, as cited by Burnet, 
p. 20£, n. l\. t "says that <j>u(Tts here means 'birth*, as is 
shown by its opposition to death." Piels-Kranz translates 
it 'Gerburt'. Love joy, Philosophical Review , XVIII, 371 sqq., 
was apparently the first to point out that x)<*-VcLTO\0 T6A6UTrj 
may not be "equivalent to death" here; his lead is followed 
by Purnet (pp. 205-206, n.b. 205, n. \\) , who translates 
BdVoLTOio TeXfeUTQ 'cessation of death', and proposes essentially 
the second line of interpretation I have given in my text, 
although, faithful to his own notion that this is always 
the pre-Socratic meaning, he translates "physis" as 'substance'. 


Burnet is perhaps too positive -.hen he argues, to establish 
the Inter ^rotation 'cessation of death 1 , that " mpedocls 
cannot have said that there was no death of aortal things "-- 
3npedoclcs may conceivably have meant that there is no 
"real" death in the things that men c mmonly call mortal, 

Kirk(p,228), although he mentions Lovejoy's article, 
gives no account of the possible ambiguity of &ol.v^to\o 
reXeuTrf , but concludes simply, ". . . it is difficult 
to escape the conclusion that in that passage . . . <£uo~is , 

osed as it is to Ovivdroio T^AfcUTn , means something 
very like yevecris ." 

It is curious to note that, whether "physls" bo taken 
to mean 'birth' or whether It be understood as 'beingness', 
there is no exact parallelism in the fragment, 30 that a 
balance must be supplied* Thus: ". . .in all things 
mortal there is no birth of anything, nor any end in bane- 
ful death, but only mixing and changing around of what has 
been mixed, birth [and death] are but names applied to it 
by men" or, ". . .in all things mortal there is no ousia 
of anything, nor any cessation of [birth and] death, but 
only mixing and changing around of what has been mixed, 
ousia is but a name applied to it by men." This consider- 
ation weakens the argument that in the beginning of the 
fragment physis is oo-i030d to 9°lvutoio TfeXfeUTn. 

14 Kirk, p. 223. 


15 Kirk,p.229. 

16 Parmenides fr. 10, vide supra, p. 

17 Sapedocles fr. 8, vide supra, p. 

This criticism of Kirk' a synthesis of the meanir. 
Of "physis" applies also to Kerenyi' s dictum that for the 
pre-3ocratics "physis" means rule "substance and force 
and process of Becoming, all inseparably connected" (Karl 
Kerenyi, "Die Gottin Natur", .Cranos Jahrbuch , 1946, 51, as 

•ted in Mario Untersteiner, The Sophists , trans. Kathleen 
Freeman (Oxford, 1954) ,p.l44) , with the additional note that 
Kerenyi omits the meaning 'being 1 . A similar criticism 
applies to Mandolfo's suggestion that for the pre-Socratics 
.ysis" means "a Becoming governed by Being" (Rodolfo Mandolfo, 
notes to his Italian translation of Zeller, Die Phllosoohle 
der Grlechen , La Fllosofia del Greci (Firenze, 1932-1938) , 
as uoted in Untersteiner,p.l44.) 


Ovens | art. cit. , 63. Fr. Owens adds immediately: 

"But it seems also to have been used to mean birth or 

generation. Though no clear instance of physis in the 

sense of principle or source of generation is to be found 

among the extant fragments, the comparatively early use of 

genesis in this meaning, as well as the express testimony 

of Aristotle, would suggest a parallel usage of physis to 

denote the principle from which generation proceeded." 



Reapubllca . 525c. 

20 Phllebus . 44e. 


3ophlata t 265a. 

22 PolltlcuB , 269d. 
2 2 Tlmaeua . 62c. 

24 Phllebus , 44e. 

25 Politlcus . 270e. 

26 Tlmaeua , 62c-d. 

2 7 oratylus , 386d- . 

28 Ibid., 386e. 

29 Ibid., 387a. 

50 Panaenlde3 . 13 2d. 
3 1 Phaedo . 96a. 

2* Plato's testimony hero vould make us presume that 
-oxasoras, or his public! z«ri, called his book irepi <j>uc-6uj<s 
or TTepi <{>uceios \rropw. 

Kirk and Raven (G. 5. Kirk and J. 5. Raven, The Pre - 
socratlc Philosophers (Cambridge, fLasA, 1957), pp. 134-185) 
state that the title commonly given to the writings of 


pre-So critic, rrepi (pfcre^JS , cannot bo considered 
authentio In all cases, and suggest that It is ^enei'ally 
a doxographical invention. For them it would be espcinlly 
questionable for a sixth-century author [e.g., Parmenides 
or Heraclitus] because " 4>U0"LS Is probably not used In 
the collective sense, 'Nature 1 , before about the middle 
of the fifth century" (p. 101, n. 1). 

'.Yith Anaxagoras, however, we have a possible rald- 
fifth-century use of Trepi cj>U(T£U)S in which "plays is" does 
not mean 'nature' taken collectively, but rather the 'being' 
of individual things, taken severally— "the causes of each, 
etc." As a matter of fact, the use of "physis" here 
corresponds very closely to that which Kirk defends for 
"physis" in Heraclitus, fr. 123. (Cf. Kirk, Heraclitus , 
the Cosmic Fragments , p. 230). 

33 Sophista , 26£c. 

3^ Ibid., 26£e. 

lieges, 891b-c. 

36 ibid., 891e-892b. 

37 ibid., 892c. 

3** The following quotations reproduce in translation, 
with a few omissions, f.Ietaphysica A , l\., 10ll(.bl6-10l5al9. 
I have supplied the numbors (1) etc. for the definitions of 



For a discussion of the meaning of " Genesis" here, 

vide Infra, n. 44. 

This might mean 'the seed'; more probably, however, 
this (2) is a less extensive form of definition (3). (3) 
would define nature as a principle of movement; (2), as a 
principle of a special kind of movement, growth. 

1 The text of the Metaphysics inserts a short expla- 
nation of Growth immediately after this definition (I0l4b20- 
26), It would seem to explain (2) rather than (3), but it 
does serve to indicate that the meaning of 4>Ufc0"0oU and 
related forms In this entire passage is 'grow'. 


Here in (5), as in (3) and (4), Aristotle involves 

In Ills definition of "physls" the expression "the this 

which are by physls". Does this make the definitions 

circular, that is, is he employing a previously-understood 

meaning of "physls"? Not necessarily; the meaning seems to 

be that in a thing which will be called a thing which Is 

by physls, physls is, etc. . . 

^ As an instance of this meaning, Aristotle quotes 
edocles fr. 3 (vide supra, pp. 133-134 and n. 13). 

Although "geneses" here appears to refer back to 
the "genesis" of definition (1), it seems difficult to 
furnish a meaning Which will apply in both cases. 

If the "genesis of growing things" in definition (l) 



means their 'being-generated' , their ' coning- to-be ' , their 
•birth 1 , then in the present instance it would h- v - to be 
understood that births are motions coming from the physis 
of the generator . It seems unlikely that Aristotle would 
use such a notion without explanation in a Iftage where 
the stress Is upon nature as an intrinsic source. 

It will be noted that in the present instance the 
plural "geneses" is employed. This suggests (since a 
thing has only one 'birth') that .Aristotle may mean 
' generatings ' v;hlch proceed from the physis, not of another 
thing, but of the generator. In tils case "genesis" in 
definition (1) may mean 'the generating' of growing things. 
Or the meaning may change; 'being generated' in definition 
(1), 'generatings' here. 

Perhaps "genesis" in definition (1) means 'growth', 
•growing'. This would coordinate (1) with (2): physis 
as growth, physis a3 principle of growth. But then in the 
present case what can be made of the expression "geneses 
and growth", which, referring as it does back to (1) for 
"geneses" and (2)-(3) for "growth", appears to demand an 
interpretation which will not identify "genesis" with 

45 physica II, 1, 192b21-23. 

^ 6 Ibid., 193b4-5. This second definition is meant 
by Aristotle as a refinement of the first. 

2? 8 

47 M ota^hyalca P , 2, 100j5a33-b6. 


Ibid., 1003bo-22. The expression here sulcata 

that for Aristotle ousla, entity, is the nature, the 

beingness of being, rather then that ousia has the nature 

of being. 

49 r.otaohyalca A , 7, 1072bl3-l4. Ibid., 1075al0 
there is the explicit expression "the physis of the whole" 
(r\ tou o\ou (fjutris). 

5° Gf. Liddell and Ocott, ed. cit., s.vv. O&copos , 

Kirk and Raven ( ^228 ) , regard it as probable that 
8eujpio4 (sic) was a central notion in Pythr. -.ores ' scien- 
tific teaching. As authority for this, they cite Diogenes 
Laertius, VIII, 8: k«o tov jSibv eoiKevtfi TToLvr\yvpei. 
u)S ouv €is TotuTr|v o\ /-»ev ©lycjvioupevoi, ox oe 
k^t' epTTOpi'«tv oi' 6e ye /^tiq-toi epxovTeO 0€o*t.u, 
outujs tv tu Buo oi piv J.v6poCTro6cj6"eis, 6^1? > 
<f>vovTcU 6o$ns K.u TrAeove^ioiS dr\p<ATcL\ s oi oe 
<j>iXo<ro<J>oi tqs ckXnSei'ots. 

It is to be noted that the word 0ecopto<. does not 
occur in this text. The notion of 'viewing' does occur. 

5 Gf. ,,alther Kranz, ";.ortindex" in Diels-Kranz, s.w. 
^eoopeTv/, Otwpi'ot. 

52 Phlletma, 3°>a-b. 
^ Respublica VI, lj.86a. 
^ Ibid., ^17b-o. 
-^ Ibid., 5l7c-d. 

^ Sthica \ r iconaciea X, 3, U78b7-8, 20-21, 28; 6c<jput 
used frvat t: 163 In 20-32. 

^ 7 Ibid., 1177al9-27. 

^ 8 cf • Jtotaphysica A ,7, I072bllj-2lj.. 

^ 9 Metaphysics V ,2, 1003bl3-ll4.. 

60 Ibid., 3 19-21. 

61 Ibid., 

° 2 Ibid., 100£a2-3. 

-* Cf. Owens, The Doctrine of Being in the Aristotelian 
Metaphysics , pp. 31-32. Fr. Owens points out that to take 
Aristotle's Metaphysics as a "theory" may be quite wide of 
the mark: "Hor should the Stagirite's metaphysical doctrines 
be conceived as 'theories', unless a definite Greek meaning 
is first assigned to the word. The term 'theory' implies to 
modern ears a notion taken from methods of research in 
the experimental sciences. A certain hypothesis is conjee- 


lured BJ I possible explanation of aortal n observed pl.on- 

na, 8nd is then tested for reculti . One cannot straight- 
\ v.j assuns that Aristotle is thinking along suofc lines in 
the prseesi taphyaical inquiry* he frequently 

uses •' .ho Creek tern from which the English word 'theory' 
i3 derived. But the Greek word ne&rm a contemplation. The 
contemplation of a definite reality before one's mind may 
well be a process quite different from the conjecturing of 
possible hypoi:ieses to explain a given phenomenon." 

Similarly, the English translations commonly given 
for theoria and OecopeTv in the statements just cited 
appear to be mistaken. Roes, for example, has "investiga- 
tion" (1003bl3-ll|.) , "investigates" (1003bl9-21) , "investi- 
gate" (1003b3!;-l )0l<.al); "examine" (100£a2-3). Tredeniiick 
in these same places has "investigation"; "studies"; 
"study"; "study". 

6 'i- Cf. e.g.* V, 3, 7, i-"; VI, 0, 6, 21. 


Notes for Chapter IX 

In my personal experience as a teacher, I have 
found student 3 who are practicing Jews or Chrlstl-.ns, 
and yet 3ee something improper in calling; souls, angels, 
or God "real" v/hen the latter are described as not 
accessible to sense, or as not material. 

2 Cf. VI, 7, 15, 16-21. 

3 Of. V, 3, 3, 31-39. 
Vide supra, pp. 123-124. 

5 Cf. V, 3, 3, 21-29. 

6 Cf., e.g., V, 3, 6, 12-18; VI, 5, 7, 1-8. 


Cf., e.g., Pistorius,p;5: "For Plotinus it 
[matter] is merely a logical abstraction;" ibid.p.119: 
"Matter does not exist. It is the logical abstraction 
of Negation- absolute." 


"It remains, then, that if evil, i.e., matter 

is, that it is in those things which are not, as a 
sort of form of non-being. It is connected with 
( TTepL ) something which is mixed v:ith non-being, or 
has some sort of community with non-being. It is not 

altogether non-being; it is only other tnan being: 
not as the movement and rest connected with being are 
non-being, but as an image of being, or rather still 
more non-being ]_than an image of being/ M . I, 8, 3, 

9 cf. v, 5, l, 12-15. 

Notes for Chapter X 
Cf. VI, lj. f 10, 5-11. 

2 Cf. V, 8, 1. 

3 Cf. Ill, 8, 2, 6-12. 

^ Cf. IV, k, 31, 16-17. 

^ cf. in, 7, 11, 56-59. 

" Ethlca Nicomachea VI, i|-5, lll^Oal-bll. 

' The distinction which Plotinus makes between 
poiesis and praxis is apparently unique. As Arnou 
observes, "Ainsi done, en lai/sant de cote ceux pour 
qui la distinction n'existe pas, solt chez Platon, 
soit chez Aristote, soit chez les comment a teurs 
autorise's du Stagirite qu'on lisait a l'ecole de 
Plotin, quand on opposait TToieW et /TpoCTTeiV ( 
jjfPoi.rTGiv' de'slgnait tou jours, avec des nuances qui 
varient de Platon a Aristote, unfiroode d f action raorale- 
ment superieure. . .La conception d'une TTpSsls en^aijee 
dans le sensible, en contra3te avec une Troin<rts libre, 
pure, eleve'e, qui est la contemplation meme, cette 



conception, ou plutot ce vocabulalre (on a vu que c'etalt 
celui de Plotin), n'est nag en usage chez .ses orecurseurs. " 
Rene Arnou, TTpZ^tS et Seoiflk . (Paris. 1921), pp. 36-37. 
It must not be supposed, however, that Plotinus 1 use of 
these terms is perfectly consistent. Vide the Appendix 
to this thesis, translation of III, 8, 2, and III, 8, 4. 

8 III, 8, 4, .31-32, 

a Cf. IV, 4, 31, 16-19. 
10 Cf. V, 8, 7, 33-35. 

Cf., e.g., Joseoh Katz, Plotinus' Search for the 
Jood (New York, 1950), pp. 30-3ij.. 

There is, to be sure, the story ^iven by Porphyry, 
ch. 12, that Plotinus asked the emperor Jallienus to re- 
store a ruined city in CamDania and ^ive it to the philos- 
ophers, to be ruled by Plato's laws and known as Plato- 

12 III, 8, 4, 39-43. 

13 V, 8, 1, 32-40. 





The re:- son nay be that the doctrine of V, 0, 

valuable though it be, Is not Plotlnua* usual view of 
art. In IV, 3, 10, 17-19, we re | rt la posterior 
to nature and imitates it by making vieal: and beclouded 
imitations, toys of little v/orth, while using many 
mechanical devices to imitate nature." 

Doth V, 8, ("chronological" number 31) and IV, 3 
("chronological" number 27) are treatises from Group II, 
and therefore both written within the same six-year 

15 II, 4, 8, 19-20. 

16 V, 8, 7, 22-23. 

17 II, 3, 17, 24. 

-l o 

The sensible world is a "shadow" , Just as it is 
"reflection", of the Nous. Of. Ill, 8, 11, 25-29. 

19 ■ -■ hyalca A » 2, 1013a29-32. Substantially the 
same description is given in Physlca II, 3, 194b29-32. 

20 Keta->hy3lca /\ , 4, 1070b26. 

21 Phyalca II, 3, 195a22. 


** Do Anlaa II, 4, 4l5bl0. 

2 3 Cf . Hotaphyslca 0,8, 1050a23-b2. 

24 Ibid. 

2 C > 

** Commentators have noted that tho fir3t chapter of 

the treatise on contemp ation, III, 3, 1, contains echoes 
of Aristotle's treatment of contemplation in Bool: X of 
the Nlcomachean ethics . (Vide, e.g., Brehier's Notice to 
III, 8 in the latter' s edition of the Enneads , III, 149.) 
PlotinuD therefore seems to have Aristotle's doctrine 
specifically in mind when he begins to treat of contem- 
plation. It is patent that ho alters this doctrine 
drastically, not only ;y extending contemplation to brute 
animals and to plants, but also, and more Import) nt, by 
making cont emulation productive. 'ccording to Aristotle's 
explicit statement, in this very boo!:, contemplation is 
not productive — in fact, it is opposed to contemolatlon. 
( :thlca Nlcomachea X, 8, 1173b20-2l). 

26 Vide supra, pp. 30-31. 

2 7 Regarding the One, Plotinus says "To call it a 
cuse is not to attribute anything accidental to it, but 
to ourselves; for we have something from it, while it. Is 


in itself." VI, 9, 3, lj-9-51. Cf. VI, 8, 7, MHj.6. 

^" "Unde relinqultur quod creatio in creatura 
non sit nisi relatio quaedam ad croatorora, ut ad 
principium sui esse." St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Th . 
I, k$> 3c. 

9 of. Owens, p. 297. For a discussion of inter- 
pretations of Aristotle which take the Separate Entities 
as efficient causes, cf. ibid., p. \\Z2 (note \\$) . 

30 Metaphysics A , 7, 1072al9-bl3. 

-* Saint Thomas Aquinas, Suoima Contra Gentiles (Rome, 
193I4.) • 11, 6. 

Notes for Chapter 7.1 

1 V, 8, 7, 13-16. 

2 Cf. V, 2, l, 7-13; VI, 7, 16, 10-35. 


III, 8, 1 

at flro' , tal> .vile wr | ct 

seriously, If re to 3uy t ' ire con- 

ation and look to this end, not only r 
lr . , : .ture .'. .th 

' : , ;.d that B&3, gftls It, 

c cor dint; to , ' I 

different ones gain cont tion In di "fcrcnt v/ciya, nose 
truly, while othero get ea imitation and Image theroof — 
would anyone sustain so >xical a state ont. 

t since thlc h;>s cone fl : ourselves there 
will ai'lse no or In our olaylnn In our o\m r.:f: Iro. 
P,ut, no;., do we not, in our present , cont 
Ind a and ell who plaj do ( ITOlovcnV ) tola, or 
rather because they desire cont. | :\. , 

at tare, whether tome boy or i i i or In In 

earnest, It la Cor th i of c tion that h , 
and that ho is 1 lest; .ctlcal activity 

( JTp^SiS ) has Its urge towards conten-lation — the nocos- 

. y, which di tion sore \ to the oxtom , 

or what la oalled voluntary, uhioh drawa it loss; never- 
theless it itself la done through a desire for contempla- 


But all of that later. Now lot us 3ay of the 
earth Itself and of trees and of all plants f what Is their 
contemplation, and how those t ings made and generated 
from It [the earth/ are led back to the activity of con- 
temolatlon; and how nature, which they say has no imagina- 
tion and no re;. son, has a contemplation in itself, and 
makes what it makes through the contemplation which it 
does not have, and how £it does thisj. 

Ill, 3, 2 

Now that nature has, then, neither hands nor 
feet nor any instrument, adventitious or natural, but 
that it needs matter, upon which it will produce ( TromcreL ) ( 
and which it makes in form [picino: >onat in specie"/ — 
this is evident to everyone. It is necessary also to 
remove levering from nature's producing ( 7Tomo~6CO^ ). 
For what thrust or what lever makes the many-color c and, 
manifold patterns? Since the moulders in wax or the 
imago-makers, whom beholders Indeed sup oa: to be 11 
the working of nature, cannot make colors 1 ke from 
elsewhere the colors which they use. But we must realise 
that, for the pursuit of such arts, it is necessr.ry th- t 
there be something remaining stable In thorn the artisans , 
according to which stable thing they make ( TTO(T\<ro\J6~LV ), 
by £the use of/ hands, their works, and similarly there 


muat be something of this 3ort In nature, which rau3t be 
•table and thus is a power, which produces ( 77 "01 o vtf^V ) t 
not by hands, and is ithar stable. 

For it is not necessary that there be J tsj 
as it were stable, other rx.rtsj as it were moving — matter 
is the moved, there is nothing o.. re which is moved — 
rather that v;ill not be the first mover — nature will not 
be that, but the unmoved in the All. But logos, someone 
may say, is unmoved, but nature is other than locos and 
is moved. But if they speak of the whole £of naturej 
locos too r would move]. And if something of it is 
unmoved, this is logos. 

For, also, nature must be a form, and not 
composed of matter and form. For what noed does it have 
of matter hot or cold? The underlying matter which it 
works-over comes to it possessed of these qualities^ or 
rather, not having t ese qualities £pf itselfj, it receives 
them by being logized ( Aoy CO Q^LtTd. ), p D r, in order 
that matter may become fire, it is not necessary that fire 
come, but rather the logos [_of f irej . ?.hich is a not 
insignificant indication that there are productive 
( TToLouvTdS ) logoi in animals and in plants, and that 
nature is a logos which produces ( TTC(€C ) another logos 
akin to it, which other logos gives something to the 
substratum while itself remaining Immobile. The logos- 



accordlng-to-tho visible form ( Lo^Ti ) i D the last 
logos, dead.! and unable at all to produce another, while 
the logos which has life Is brother to that which produces 
the form ( ^iOf<f>7i ), and, haying "the sane power a3 the 
latter, produces the- form In the thing which la 
engendered ( TlOtef BU TOO ye\fO{4£VW> ). 

Ill, 8, 3 

In what way does it produce? How, producing 
in t is way, Blight it attain a certain contemplation? 
Rather, if it produces In remaining stable and renaini 
in itself, and is a logos, It nay be itself a contempla- 
tion. For praxis, which would come- to-be according to 
logos, Is obviously other than logos: logos, which 
accompanies praxis and governs It, would, not be praxis. 
If, now, it [nature] Is not praxis but logos, it is 
contemplation. Ind in the whole range of logos, the 
last 13 from contemplation and 13 cont . tion in the 
sense that it is contc ftd ( Te@€top77 UeVOS ); 
while in all logos which is before this there is the 
lo ;os which 13 different in different things, which is 
not nature but soul, and there is the lo hich Is in 
nature and Is nature. 

Is It itself \VciQ logos which is nature/ 
/derivedj from contemplation? It Is entirely from con- 


templation. But if it had been contemplative of itself? 
But how? For it is the end-product of a contemplation and 
of a certain conteraplator. 

How does It itself have contemplation? It does 
not have contemplation from reasoning ( &K Ao/ou ) : i 
call "contemplation from reasoning" a searching about the 
things which are In it. Why not, when it is a certain life 
and a logos and a productive power? Is it that to search 
is not yet to have? Nature possesses, and for this reason, 
namely that it possesses, it produces. For nature, to be 
what it is is its poiesis ( T° TTCH&LV ), and as it is, so 
is its making. But it is contemplation and theorema, for 
it is a logos. Now by being contemplation and theorema 
and logos— by being these, nature produces. 

Thus poisesis is revealed to us to be contempla- 
tion: it Is the end-product of a contemplation which re- 
mains contemplation, not making ( 7Tp<*5rf tT/7 J ) anything 
else, but producing ( TT0t~n&c<<r775 ) by being contemplation. 

Ill, 8, \ 

And if anyone asks nature for what end It produces 
( JToi€[ ), if she consents to hear the questioner and to speak, 
she would say: "You must not question me; you must understand, 
and yourself be silent, just as I am silent and am not ac- 
customed to speak. What, then, must you understand? That 





the thing-produced ia ray product-of-contemplation {Ga^d) , 
silence laicj , and my natural theorems, and I too am 
born from a similar contemplation, and have the nature of 
a lover of contemplation. And ray contemplating makes a 
theorema, as geometers draw while contemplating: but w^en 
I, drawing nothing, contemplate, the lines of bodies come 
to be, as it were falling-forth [fvoin me/ . And I oavo the 
disposition of my mother and of the beings which generated 
me: for these too are derived from contemplation, and 
my generation while they themselves made ( JTfot tfoc i/r&J\/ ) 
nothing— but as they are better logoi, in contemplating 
themselves I am generated." 

What do these words wish to say? That what is 
called nature is a soul, the offspring of a prior Soul which 
lives more powerfully, having in its quiet self a contempla- 
tion /directed^ not towards the above, nor again towards the 
below; standing in what it is, in its own stasis and in a 
sort-of synesthesia, by this synesls and synes thesis it sees 
what is after it, in such a way as is fitting to it, and it 
does not seek further, but accomplishes its theorema, splen- 
did and graceful. 

And if anyone wishes to accord to nature a certain 

synesis or perception, it is not as we speak of perception 

or synesis in others, but as if one were to compare the 

. ^-, c/ 

fsynesis and perceptionj of sleep (or dream, JOV {JTTVOV ) 


to those of one who is awake. 

For in contemplating the theorema born to it, 
nature rests, because it remains in itself and with it- 
self and is {TtselfJ a tneorema. And it is a silent, 
weaker contemplating. There is another contemplation more 
active for viewing; this is an image of that other con- 
templation. In this way, what Is born from it is alto- 
gether weak, because a weakening contemplation makes a weak 
product-of-contemplation: because men also, when they are 
weak In the direction of contemplating, make praxis (TTpd^tV 
J[0lc>6vT<M ), [praxis wiiich isj a shadow of contemplation 
and logos. For when the /power/ of contemplation is not 
suitable to them because of weakness of soul, not being 
able to understand the ob ject-of-contemplation (&£<t/4d ) 
suitably, and therefore not being full, attempting to see 
it, they are borne to praxis, so that they may see what 
they cannot see by intellect. When indeed they make (iroiaxri ) , 
both they themselves are wishing to see it and j_they wish] 
others to see and perceive it, when their purpose is, as 
much as this is possible, praxis [^ Inge, I, l60: when their 
object is, as far as possible, expressed in actionj. 

For in all cases we shall find that poiesis and 
praxis are either a weakening of, or an accompaniment of, 
contemplation: a weakening, if someone does not have any- 
thing beyond the thing-made {npiY&tv) I an accompaniment, 


If he haa aoux , bettor, beforo tho thing-produced 

( TToi?iB<rvros-) t tQ COato 1;)late# Pop why woul<J tho OTn |fao 

is able to contemplate the true go by preference to the 
liaaga of the true? And the duller children bear witneaa, 
who, 111-diapoaed to the possibility of learning and con- 
tends tion, are reduced to arto and works. 


This bibliography lists: 

(a) the literature on Plo , incluiin^ that used in 
the preparation of this thesis, published between the 
compilation of Hariah, Vrt. rilbliografla Critics 
der;li Studl Plotinlanl ... hari: Laterza, 1>U9; and 
of Repertoire aiblio,irarhig\is .ie la Philosophic . 
Tome XI (1959), 

(b) literature on Plotinus, although listed in Marion, 
used in the actual preparation of this thesis 

(marked x) , 

(c) literature used in the preparation of this thesis, 
but not specifically on Plotinus (marked xx). 


Ion Crcatrlcc . Paris, 19 . 

Adolphe, Lydie. La Contemplation Cr6atrice . Paris, 195l« 
1 Thesis on Aristotle, Plotinus and : erjson in nanuscri 

xx Aristotle. Aristoteles Greece. Ex recensions I^nr-anuelis 
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xx — — — . i he Works of Aristotle . Translated into English 
under the editorship of W. D. Ross. 12 vols. Oxford i 
Clarendon Press, [ 19*4.9-56]. 

x Armstrong, Arthur Hilary. Phe Architecture of the Intelligible 
Universe in the Philosophy of Plotinus . " -. - • - ; ■ • . r- 7" 
The 'Inivorsity Press, 1%0. [References to "Armstrong'' 
in footnote? refer to this work]. 


..... — , see Plotinus. 

. The Real Meaning of Plotinua' Intelligible 

World , Oxford: -laclcfrlara, 19U9. 

xx Arnim, liana von, ed. tolcoru"! Voterura Fragmenta . U vole. 
Leipzig: Teubner, 1903-21;. 

x Arnou, Rene, he Deslr de Pleu dans la Philosophic de 

lot In , Paris: Alcan, 1921. I Arnou references ore to 
"Volkraann" edition]. 

x . JTP^iS «t Secvpict Paris: Alean, 1921. 

xx Aatlua, Pridericua. Lex loon Platonictun: alve Vooim Plato- 
nlcainr; Index . Condidlt D. Kridcrlcus Astias. linver- 
ttnclerter Nachdruok der Aungabe von 1835-38, 3 vole. 
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xx Bonltz, ttermann. Index Arlstotelicus . UnverHnderter photo- 
mechaniacher I-.acharuck d'er Auagabe Berlin 1870. Orae: 
Adadomische Druck Verlagaanstalt, 1955* 

Bourbon di Petrella, Fiamnetta. II Problems. /Jell 1 Arte e 

della Bellezza in Plotino . Florence: felloe Le 'onnier, 


Brehier, Emile. See -^Plotinus. 

— — — — . La Filosofifa de Plotino . Treduccion de Luc^a 

Pioasek Preblah (Biblloteoa de Filosoffa) . £uenoa Aireaj 
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.. La Philosophic de Plotln . Paris: Boivin et C ', 


— — . The Phlloaopny of Plotinus . Chicago: Henry 

Regnery, 1951. 

xx Burnat, John, l^arly Gree k Philosophy, kth ed. London: 
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x Caramella, Santino. La Fjloaoffa di Plotino et 11 i.eo- 

platonls^o. Catania: ' ftuinno del Fascist! Universitari, 

x C*rbonara, Clato. La Fllosofla di riotino. 2 vols. Rome: 
Perrellft, 1938-39. 


Chauvy, Michel. Interlorltei Trols Chomlnencnta vera 
1 'I nter lor lt^T" Vlo'tin, ?>o1nt Auguatln, ti ergs on . 
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Cilento, Vincenzo. ,-'''• and ^Plotinua. 

Composta, Rennto. ^ee ^Flotinus. 

x Corte, Maroel de. htudoa d'!.l. Q tr ■ Is 1 blloc: 

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Brouwer e't C lw - f 119351. 

Creuzer, redricua. See 'PlotJivis. 

XX Dlels, ernan. Die Fro : :r.* J-r- '■■' '>rCTOtf.r«t \*r>r . ' ounte 

Auflage. Von ii/atthor 'Lrens. J vols. o^lin-Charlotten- 
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xx Diogenes L&ertius. Llvea of Rwlnent Phllosoph-ars . With an 
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Dodda, E. H, See ^Plotinus. 

x Drews, Arthur Christian ileinrich. Plotin und der Antlk^n 
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xx Duna Scotua, John. Corrneiitarla. Oxonlenala ad Llbroa IV 

Maglstri Scntontlfirum . Tted by Marlanua Fernandez 

Garcia. 2 vols. Quaracchl : Collegium S. rionaventura, 
1912-1U-. [Cited in footnotes as Op, Ox .]. 

Sborowicz, Wencealao. La Conte -relation .lelo'i Plotin 

(Diolioteca del Slornale di ^starialcn , lu). Ttivllfti 
3ocleta Edi trice Internazionale, 1958. [Previously 
published aa two periodical articlea in Giornaledl 
Metafiaica, XII (1957), fc7««5l3| XXII UOT, I*-"?. 

xx Peatugifcre, Andre Marie Jean, n- 

teraplative selon Pie ton. -arls: J. Vrln, i9j>6. 

Fielni, Marsilil. See 'Plotlnus. 

Fischer, ; "u /o. Die AktualltBt Plotlna; Ueber <3i* Konver - 
genz von Wlaaenschaft und Motap'Jyalk . '/Tlnchen: C~, . 
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_____ • j . Aver, une preface nouvelie. ^sirTil Auhi'er,' 
Edit 1 " ontai^ne, 195' . 

rtarder, . See Plotlnus and Plotlnus. 

x Helnemann, ^ritz. PJL_d__L__. I . :einer, 1 ;21. 

Henry, Paul, Lea r*ltp -r . aria: esclee 

de Brc.ver, 191^. 

— — — . ee -'Plotlnus, ' Plotlnus and ' Flotlnua. 

xx Heraclltus. The Coar.ic _ an Intro- 

Iuctix. and copr-cntary by 0. : . fric, Cambridge [Eng.]: 
iveraity Press, 195U. 

Hianerich, Vilheln, alnonlat Die Lehre dea Plotln von 
?»r elbstverv 1 i c"~ ui; ~ d^s M er.s ch'en (r "o ■ i 7,ur 

Heueren Philosophie und T Ihre- , ~ i entente, ^lge, 
-I), tfurxourg: 'onrad Triltaoh Verlag, 19 c . 

x Inge, Wllllaa Ralph. The y of Plotlnus . 3rd ed. 

London: Longmans, upein, [1 ;>?■' I . """'-"- llfford U ttarM 
delivered at St. Andrews, l r '17-l8. Reprinted in 191$]. 

xx J• -' a ."!^ , , ■ ". »ly Gre ■.losophera . 

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— — — . "L'Urgence et la Possibility de la Purification 
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Chfitillon, Francois. "Plotiniana", Revue du Moyen A^e Latin , 
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Cherniss, Harold. "Plotinus: A Definitive edition and a 
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Clark, Gordon H. "Plotinus on the Eternity of The World", 
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Connolly, S. "St. Augustine's 'Ascent* to God. III-IVj 
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Crocker, John R. "The Freedom of Man in Plotinus", The 
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Crouzel, Henri. "Origene et Plotin Slaves d'Ammonlos 
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D8rrie, Heinrieh, " Amnion! os der i.,ahrer lotlna", I 
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->rovicz, Wenceslao. "La Contemplation selon Plotin", 

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Llorduy, tfleuterio. "En Torno a Plotin**. 'studios 
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Garln, Bugenio. "Plotino nal i±00 Fiorentino", Rlnaacl-ncnto . 
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. "Plotin et l'Interiorlte St>irituelle", Les Etudes 

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Pepin, Jean. "La Connaissance d'Autrui chez Plotin et 

chez Saint Augustin", Augustinus , III (195<~)» 227-45. 

"Une Curieuse Declaration Idealiste du De 

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-— - — -. "Note Nouvelle sur le ProblSme de la Communication 
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— — — — . "Plotin et les Mythes", Revue Phllo3ophique de 
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— . "Le Probleme de la Communication des Consciences 

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p. 13, n. 26 

. 15, n. 23 

. 44, n. 21 

p. 45, a. 22, n. 25 

. 37, n. 85 

p. 96, a. 7 (263) 

p. 116, n. 40 

III, 8, 9 

>* 24, a. 1 (237) 

III, 8, 10 

II, a. 84,(243) 

III, 8, 11 

. 24, n. ( 37) 
p. 25, n. 9 
. 26, n. 21, a. 31 
u V , a, 6 (246), n. 71 
. 37, n. 81,(243) 
, 205, a. 18 (3 

III, 9, 3 

. 74, a. 57 

III, 9, 9 

p. 3'';, n. 71 

IV, 3, 6 

p. 68, n. 49 
IV, n. 58 ,262) 

IV, 3, 8 

p, 52, n. 3 

IV, 3, 9 

.. 53, n. 11 
. 54, a, 19 

, i, 3, a. 51 (261) 
. 122, n. 18 

IV, 3, 10 

. :, a. 44 

. 71, n. ! 

p. 76, n. >0, n. 

. 99, n. 15, n. 17 

p, 101, n. 23, n. 

o. 200, n. 1A (305) 

IV, 3, 20 

. 1 _ , n. 37 

IV, 3, 26 

, :. 71 

IV, 3, 27 

. 2, a. 4 

, 73, n. 56 



IV, 4, 10 IVf a, 

• <" . n. . 59, n . : , 2 
,7 , n. 66, n. 67 . n . 35 

IV, n. 33 (265) . , n. 73 

IV, 4, 11 IV, 8, 3 

p. 78, n. 68, n. e . , n. 6 

IV, n. 33 (265) . 60, n. ?6, n, 37 

. 61, n. 38 
IV, 4, 12 

• ', n. 52 IV, 8, 4 

. 76, n. 63 ,62, a, 39 

. 73, n. 66 .. n . 40, n. 42 
IV, n. 33 (265) 

IV, 8, 5 

IV, 4, 13 II, n . 3 (237) 

. 10, n. 15 p. 63, n. 41, n. 43, n. 44, 

• 1 , n. 31 n. 45, n. 46, n. 47 
. 107, n. 11 (276), n. 13 

. 108, n. 16, n. 19 o. 65, n. 48 
p. 116, n. 39 

IV, 3, 6 

IV, 4, 14 . 53, n . 63 
. 10, n. 15 

. 107, n. 9, n. 10 (274) XV , 8, 7 

p. 79, n. 70 
IV, 4, 16 

p. 96, n. 9 V, 1, 3 

. 39, n. 6 
IV, 4, 20 P. 55 n . 21 

p. 108, n. 

IV, 4, 27 II, n. l (237) 
p. 11, n. 18 

. 106, n. 4 V, 1, 6 

. 23, n. 42 (243) 

IV, 4, 31 . 29, n. 48 

• 17, n. 4 . 32, n . 54 (244) n. 
. 197, n. 9 p. 96, n. 

IV, 6, 3 V, 1, 7 

. 53, n. 16 D . 32, n. 56, n. 60 

II, n. 34 (r.49) 
IV, 7, 2 III, n . 30 (255) 

p. 59, n. 34 ( . ,, n . 13 

. 101, n.24 o. 55, n . 22, n. 23 

. 102, n. 27 

8, 1 
?. 59, n. 31 

V, 1, 7 
IV, 3, 1 . 7, n . 12 



V, 1, 3 

I, n. 14 (235) 

I, n. 5 (239) 

II, n. 23 (241) 
. , n. 3 

V, 1, 10 

II, a. 5 (239) 

V, 2, 1 

. 28, n. 47 

. 39, n. 5 

. 56, n. 26 

. 70, n. 54 

. 108, n. 17 

. 228, n. 2 

V, 2, 2 

p. 49, n. 39 

V, 3, 3 

. 33, n. 78, n. 79, 

n. 30 
. 113, n. 32 
. 162, n. 3 
. 169, a. 5 

V, 3, 5 

. 38, n. 85 

. 39, n. 1, n. 4 

. ■' , n. 18, n. 19 

V, 3, 6 

. 169, n. 6 

V » 3 ' 7 

. 152, n. 64 

V, 3, 8 

p. 101, n. 26 

V, 3, 10 

. 26, n. 16 (2'i ) 

II, n. 26 (241) 

, n. 75 

V, 3, 11 

. 34, n. 70, n. 71 

V, 3, 12 

, n . 
. 34, n. 67, n. 71, n. 74 

V, 3, 16 

. 26, n. (241) 

V, 3, 17 

II, n. -; (. 3) 
', n. 40 

V, 4, 1 

II, n. 3 (237) 
II, ■•-. (241) 

V, 4, 2 

II, n. 3 (237) 

p. .: , ru 34 

. 23, n. 45 

. 31, n. 49 (243), n. 50, 

n. 51 

. 3, n. 7 

P . 37, n. 82 (248) 

II, n. '. (:•' 

V, 4, 14 

p. 51, n. 2 

V, 4, 16 

. 31, n. 

V, 5, 1 

r>. 80, n. 71 

. 17 , n. 9 

V, 5, 6 

. ' , a. 6 (239), n. 7 
, a. 22 (241) 

V 5 9 

p! 125, n. . (■ 

V ' 5 » X S 

p. 23, n. 46 

p. 33, n. 

V, 5, 13 

II, . 26 (241) 



V, 6, 3 

II, n. 5 (238) 

v, 6, 6 

p. 34, n. 69 

p. 45, n. 26 (254) 

V, 7, 1 

. 99, n. 15, n. 19 

V, 3, 1 

p. 137, n. 2 
p« 200, n. 13 

V, 3, 3 

. 107, n. 8 

V, 3, 7 

• 103, n. 29 
p. 120, n. 3 
P. 199, n. 10 

. 203, n. 16 

• 223, n. 1 

V, 3, 8 

. 123, n. 30 

V, 3, 12 

. 32, n. 58, .. 59 

V, 9, 2 

p. 122, n. 

V, 9, 3 

• 39, n. 4 

V, 9, 4 

p. .5, n. 24 

V, 9, 

• 107, n. 10 (272) 

V, 9, 7 

p. 46, n. 30 (2:.i ) 

V, 9, 8 

p. 39, n. 2 
. 46, n. 30 (2: 


V, 9, 9 

. 39, n. 7 

. 42, n. ' 

. 1 !., n. 26 

VI, 1, : 
VII, n. 15 ( 

VI, 2, 5 

• 98, n. 14 

VI, 4, 2 

. 17, n. 34, n. 
p. 125* n. 35, n. . . 

n. 40 
p. 126, n. 43 
p. 127, n. 50 
. V. , n. 51 

VI, 4, 4 

. 51, n. 1 (257) 
. 54, n. 17 

VI, 4, 

. 52, n. 7 

VI, 4, 8 

. 127, n. 47 

VI, 4, 10 

• 12, n. 62,(245) 

• 187, n. 1 

VI, 4, 11 

• S. , n, 2 (267) 

VI, 4, 12 

p. 51, n. 52 (244) 

. 127, n. 49 

VI, 4, 14 

. 4, n. 17 

VI, 4, 1 

• 5 > -. 25 

VI, 5, 7 

, n. 6 


I : 

VI, 5, 

. 17, n. 33 

. 127, n. (2 /) 

. ' 5, n. 52 

VI, 5, 9 

. 134, n. 17 

VI, 6, 

. 46, n. 30 (255) 

VI, 6, 

. 46, n. 30 (255) 

VI, 7, 3 

. 122, a. 19 

VI, 7, 5 

. 101, n. 

VI, 7, 7 

. 45, m 23 
. 99, n. 18 

VI, 7, 8 

p. 39, n. 2 
. 40, n. 11, n. 12 

VI, 7, 11 

p. 124, n. 32 

VI, 7, 13 

. 46, n. 30 (255) 

VI, 7, 1 

p. 157, n. 2 

VI, 7, 1 

II, n. 34 (249) 
. 28, n. 2 

VI, 7, 17 

. 2 , .. ;.'4, n. 

VI, 7, 23 

. 26, n. 26 (241) 

VI, 7, 23 

. 122, n. 20 (283) 

VI, 7, 34 

II, n. 23 ( J 
.34, . 1, n. 73 

vi, 7 1 

. ■ , . • : ( .4i ) 

p, 34, n. 71, n. 74 

VI, 7, 41 

, n. 1 9) 

• , n. 71 

VI, 8, 

. 152, n. 64 

VI, 3, 7 

II, a, 5 (238) 

. 25, n. 

. 26, n. 13 (240) 

• , i. 37 

. 211, BU 27 (:• ) 

VI, 3, 8 

. 26 , ■'-. 27, B* 33 

VI, 8, 9 

. 27, n. 39 

. - , .:. 41 

I, S, 10 

. 26, n. 22 (241), n. 29 

VI, 3, 11 

. 25, n. 14 ( ■ 
•. 26, n. 23 (242)j n* 29 

VI, 3, 13 

II, n. 5 (238) 

p. 25, n. 8, n. 10, n. 13 (24) 
. : , i, 17, n. 1 ' (2A0), 

n. 28 (242) 
. 27, n. 
. 56, n. 78 
, n. 3 

VI, 3, 14 

. 25, n. 14 (240) 

. 26, a. 15, n. 13 (:,' 


VI, 3, 15 

II. n. ; (238) 

, i. 20 

VI, 8, 16 

. . , n. 13 (240), 
n. 26 (241) 

. 36, n. 77, n. 79, 
n. 80 
II, n. 84, (249) 

VI, 3, 17 

. 26, n. 16 (2-. 
. 99, n. 20 

VI, 8, 18 

, j. 13 (240) 

VI, 3, 20 

II, n. 5, (233) 

p. 26, n. 30, n. 32 

VI. :>, 3 

', n. 27 ( 

VI, 9, 4 

, q. 6 (239) 

VI, 9, 6 

... .12 (239), 
• L4 (: 
, n. 19 (. 41), . 
. 27, n. 
• Hi n. 73 

VI, 9, 9 

II, n. 3 (238) 

VI, 9, 11 

, n. 23 (241) 









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